Posted on October 10, 2013 by TSchmitz
With a grant from the Southtowne Rotary Club of Eugene, Oregon, ARDSO has drilled a well in the community of Gwendiya, north and slightly east of Gulu in Northern Uganda. The well is supplying clean water to about 800 people and is about 20 feet deep.
We had been looking for a good site for a well when we learned that fourteen young women from the U.S. would visit us for just two days. Their leader, Suzy Gillies of the African Promise Foundation said she wanted them to “get dirty.” Our manager, Ovola George, contacted the community leaders in Gwengdiya to tell them we were coming on Saturday, August 17th. They were expecting us to come to talk to them about drilling a well and they were ready for a meeting. But we were ready to start digging, so the meeting lasted about five minutes.
We expect the men in the communities to supply the labor, and they did willingly. But our young women weren’t getting a chance to get involved! So I asked my Ugandan friend, Rotarian Bese Frederick, to put them to work– and he did. Soon everyone was well mudded and by the end of the day we had a hole about ten feet deep – with water in the bottom.
Our ARDSO team returned on Monday and, with community members, dug another ten feet. We tested the inflow of water by bailing the shaft to the bottom and then timing how long it took to refill. You could see the water seeping through the walls of the shaft and the water level rising. There was an excellent supply. We took a sample to the hospital for testing and found the water to be adequately clean. The rest of the work was completed the next week, putting in the pipe, doing the concrete work and installing the pump.
It works! No more cholera! No more typhoid! No more intestinal parasites and worms! And it’s a gift from the generous people of Southtowne Rotary in Eugene. Thanks to you all! You’ve saved lives – hundreds of lives. People are getting clean water for cooking, bathing, laundry and personal hygiene. They had been using a terribly polluted surface spring.
People in Northern Uganda were in IDP camps for 22 years before they were allowed to return to their traditional homes. It has been a difficult resettlement. Most of the older “wisdom” generation were killed, so everything is being done for the first time, again. This community of Gwendiya is an example of how well things can develop. They conduct open community meetings to decide policies for their village. Many families have started a tradition of community dinners with several families cooking for each other every evening. They have a terrific spirit and camaraderie. When people first left the camps, they had nothing: no home, no water, no hoes, no seed, and their fields had been overgrown by bush during the 22 years they were gone. Everybody was just clawing to get by, to just survive. To see this community spirit, with people working together so well, is inspiring. Aid Africa is proud to be a part of that spirit and to have Southtowne Rotary as our partner.