Nengume could see the lights of the clinic, not far away, shining in the deep darkness of the landscape. As the lights grew brighter, her hope grew stronger. Help for her child was near. She adjusted the baby on her back and pushed ahead. Then, she heard the sound she had feared, and hope faded quickly into the dark, angry waters of the rushing river.
The same life-sustaining waters that provided so much were now keeping her from the help she needed. An attempt to cross the floodwaters, especially at night, would mean certain death. A safe place to cross could be more than twenty miles down the river. She looked up again and saw the lights on the other side of the river - hope just out of reach.
How do we tell the story of Bridging the Gap Africa (BtGA)?
It is not one story, but thousands. It is the story of the woman who cannot reach the clinic, the story of the child who cannot get to school, the story of the farmer unable to sell his crops. In an isolated, walking world, rivers bring both life and death. Flood seasons cut villages off from all outside resources, and desperate attempts to cross rivers often end in tragedy.
The founder of BtGA heard these stories and determined to make a difference. Harmon Parker began building footbridges over dangerous rivers in Kenya more than fifteen years ago. Now, communities in need of a bridge invite BtGA to come. After initiating the project, the community participates and uses local resources to assist in building the bridge. When it is finished, the community celebrates and embraces ownership of their bridge.
She could see the lights of the clinic, not far away, each glow a promise that help was near. Nengume adjusted the child on her back and moved ahead into the darkness. Then she heard the sound of the angry, flooded river pounding through the ravine. She exhaled with relief and smiled with determination as she crossed the footbridge to the clinic.
What is the story of Bridging the Gap Africa? It is the story of a footbridge that gives hope and transforms a community.