Jim West’s Update, May 2020

Dear Friends and Families of CEED,  

I have been living in Africa since late June of last year. Things were going quite well for CEED and our drill teams. We were drilling for Wells of Life, an outfit from California, and they were keeping us very busy. CEED had a fundraiser in September which did very well. We have three drill teams with five men on each team. That is fifteen families and all that that implies, school fees, rent, food, etc. These young men were happy. Through you, many people and churches, and the businesses that have given money to CEED have provided a livelihood for these men and their loved ones. Their livelihood is providing clean cool water to people in extremely desperate villages throughout Uganda. That clean water improves the health of a community by 80%, the attendance rate in schools go up, the children’s grades improve, and it keeps the children and woman from the valleys and swamps where they are often attacked and raped. Many women who were forced to drink surface water would not even wash their clothes in it because it would stain. Since I have arrived, you have been responsible for bringing clean water to over 100,000 people in Uganda. 

At the end of last year, I asked Herbert if I could sponsor a Christmas party and the end of the year celebration. He liked the idea and started to make plans. My thought was, ” how much could it cost to feed fifteen men?”. A couple of days later Herbert informed me that the men wanted me to meet their families. I was flattered, I had never met their families as I see the team in the field. I said that would be ok and he informed me that I would be feeding seventy-five people. In Africa, you cannot have this many people gather without speeches being made. Herbert introduced team 1 to me and I could see what was coming. I interrupted and told everyone there that I was happy to have provided dinner but the rest were the people in America that needed to be thanked. That didn’t do a bit of good. Each member of each team stood before me all dressed up with their beautiful brides in their lovely African gowns with their well-dressed children and thanked me and the people of America for providing them with a job. Some of the women and even a couple of the children had a speech prepared. It was the most humbling thing that I have ever been through. Providing jobs, I think it is something that is quite often overlooked when you donate money to CEED. There is a small economy in Hoima funded by the money you give.  Sixteen families, suppliers, mechanics, welders, fuel, supplies, and a host of other benefits are provided to many from you. It is the economic development in CEED.

We were doing very well. In February Les Gutzwiller brought a team of twenty-five people to Uganda to do some work at God’s Love and Care School and observe what CEED has been doing. A few people from churches who have donated wells wanted to see how they were helping the communities. A few people from this team belong to North Sewickley Presbyterian Church who sponsored a borehole. Herbert and I took them to the drill site, showed them the drilling process, and where the people were currently getting their water. Some of the people from this team were so overwhelmed by the condition of the water they promised to sponsor a borehole. It was a good team and everyone was happy. 

News of the virus was all the news. Les was consumed with the process of transporting twenty-five people across three continents when flights were being changed and canceled. Everybody made it home safe and without any drama, and then we went into lockdown. No one could have imagined what hardships we were about to face. There are villages that were promised a borehole that we cannot get to. They are being told that they must wash their hands often with clean water and keep their distance from each other. In a village with no clean water, their troubles are compounded beyond belief. The small economy that you have built has collapsed. The drill teams’ families are suffering. It’s hard to watch the hardships the people of Uganda are going through. Many people come to me for help, I help who I can. As proud and humble as our drill teams were at the Christmas party, that’s how proud they are now. Not one of them asked me for help. I had Herbert buy three goats and some beans and rice for each of the team members. Herbert divided everything up according to family size and told the team to come and get their share. They are so humble and thankful, and it was good, but it’s not enough.                                                                                                                                                   

I know you all are suffering and there is much angst with what tomorrow might bring but if you could help us a little until we get through this, it would be much appreciated. I am not trying to save the people of Hoima but I know these men, their wives, and their children. For those of you who can donate money at this time, thank you. One hundred and fifty dollars buys three goats, one hundred and fifty dollars buys enough beans and rice for fifteen families for a short time. If you donate money, please designate “Good Samaritan Fund”. It will be wired to me and I will give the money to Herbert to feed our team. Thank you. 

                                                                                                                 

Clean water in East Africa is needed now more than ever. The cost to repair a borehole in Uganda is $750.00. If there are 1200 people per borehole (a low estimate) that comes to about $0.58 per person who will get clean, healthy water for a very long time. Think about those numbers. If you would like to sponsor a new borehole, the cost is $4500.00, which is about $3.75 per person. Imagine being able to buy health care for 1200 people for $3.75 per person for many years. That is what your money given to CEED does. Please let us know where you would like your money to go. Looking forward to working for you providing clean water for others. May God bless you all.                                                                                                                                

Sincerely, Jim                                                                                                                                                                             

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