Two weeks ago, the drill team, Herbert and I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer Riddle and Mike Henry. Both live in North Carolina and have been doing work in Uganda East Africa. In 2015 Jennifer started a 501(c)3 called “Marking Progress”. While in Uganda they were told to contact CEED if they were interested in drilling boreholes. Jennifer said that they had fifteen hundred dollars and wanted to repair wells. We gathered the parts and equipment needed to make the repairs, Herbert called the drill team and we met them the next day.
Our first stop was Mweya Village. Six hundred students and over one hundred families without clean water. The drill team repaired the well easily. We drove to our next destination, “Nalozali Village “. Repairs were started and I decided to walk down into the valley to see where they were getting their water. After quite a walk I came upon three small children lying on a couple of logs that spanned a small gray pond filling their little jerry can with water. It was imperative that we repair this well. This village was much like the last. Six hundred and fifty children in school and over one hundred and fifty families. People from other villages would start walking very far to collect clean water here. We were told that all were welcomed. The woman that gathered around the borehole as it was being repaired said to us, ” thank you for loving us”, and ” water is life”.
We had the materials for three boreholes so we drove to the next site. Bukuya Town. This site was quite different from the first two sites we visited. It was a big town with a broken borehole in the center of it. The drill team started to disassemble the pump and people started gathering around in anticipation. Jennifer and Mike were asking questions to an elderly man standing nearby. One of the questions asked was “What people would be allowed to use this borehole?” Sometimes this question is asked to determine if a property owner, school or church would deny other people to protect their water supply. His answer to them was ” All the people of the town are welcome to come”.
At each site, we witnessed children pumping cool clear water for each other, splashing water on their face and head. At one point Jennifer stuck her head under the spout as the children laughed and got in line to imitate her. Men and woman who gathered were celebrating watching all the fun. After the celebrations, we stopped and prayed. We praised God and thanked the men involved in repairing the well, we thanked Jennifer and Mike for providing the funds and we thanked God for this wonderful experience in Uganda. It was a good day to be in Africa.
On the long drive back to Hoima I took the time to look at notes that I had taken for each repair and going over some numbers. That evening Herbert and were invited to dinner with Mike and Jennifer. We were very excited about the day’s events. During that day we drove into a village, repaired a well, celebrated, prayed and moved on. At the end of the day with little money and some effort, we had delivered cool, clean, healthy water to five thousand men, women, and children. We talked about how large a number that is. I said, “Jennifer, there is a very small number in this equation as well.” She was curious. I said, “This day five thousand people could get as much clean water as they needed each day for a very long time for a cost of $0.03 a person. She said,” That is pocket change”. Jennifer came up with a phrase: “Change for Change”. We imagined every Boy Scout Troop, every Girl Scout troop, every school, prayer group, gas station, storefront, bar, church and household with a jar marked for change. CEED and Marking Progress will be waiting patiently for you to make a change.
The next day Jennifer and Mike informed Herbert that they received five hundred more dollars, and the change continued. Thank you for considering how much your change can make.