donating my services
In September of 2011, my dear friend called to tell me that she had finally found a charitable organization with whom she wanted to work. She and I share the passion of traveling and, at that point, the dream of international humanitarian work. Africa, specifically. She said that after all these years, she was done talking about it and ready to commit. When she asked if I wanted to join her on the project, I just chuckled. Of course I did! I knew I was in for a wild ride: when she's ready to commit, she hits the ground running and gives 100%. She's a superstar fundraiser, idea generator, and general party animal; and I honestly admit that I couldn't do it without her and her blessed set of skills.
We are champions for Groundwork Opportunities (GO) and since we loved working with them so much the first time, we jumped on board to tackle a second project.
Our most recent project was a massive undertaking. After two years of fundraising, we purchased a human-powered water well drilling rig (Whew! What a mouthful!) to build fresh water wells. Simply put, it's the Village Drill. Peter, our partner in Uganda, has the goal of drilling 100 wells in the rural Masaka and Rakai districts, and the semi-urban areas of Kampala during the first wave of the project. The drill is awesome. It can be easily disassembled and put into the bed of a truck. Or, it can be carried by hand or on an animal to the more remote villages that will otherwise not have access to clean water. The thing is, there is water in Uganda. It is a lush country full of agriculture. Yet herein lies some of the problem: exposed water is contaminated by chemical run-off and is also used by animals. By purchasing the drill, the cost of the individual wells has been reduced by about 80%, making them actually affordable on a mass level. This will bring fresh, clean water to hundreds of thousands of people in need. My brothers and my sisters in Africa are in desperate need of clean water.
Fetching water is primarily the responsibility for women and girls. The walk is usually not close, and therefore girls often miss school, resulting in a limited education. There is a myriad of problems resulting from the lack of fresh water, with disease and rape (from walking long distance alone) being among them. A community well will help in decreasing these issues. We aim to put wells on school grounds as much as possible, 1) to keep kids in school, and 2) to provide funding for the school with minimal, affordable user fees.
Here's the breakdown:
I. Get a truck to transport the drill to each location - COMPLETED BY A PRIVATE DONOR
II. Raise funds to purchase the Village Drill - COMPLETE
III. Raise funds to transport the Village Drill from Kenya to Uganda - COMPLETE
IV. Raise funds to build the wells - IN PROGRESS THANKS TO A CHARITABLE PARTNERSHIP
HOW WILL I GIVE BACK?
I will donate a three-month nutrition program as a silent auction item at each of our big fundraisers. Highest bidder gets to work with yours truly. (Hope you win!)
We're all in this life together and it takes a community to create major change.
Stay tuned for our next project! (It's in the works!)
Here's a super short video about the drill we purchased:
This photo is of Peter, GO's project partner in Uganda. He is the founder of the Uganda Rural Community Support Foundation (URCSF). He is truly a visionary and capable leader. The impact he has had on Uganda is outstanding. He's educated, has a vision, a mission, and a plan, and knows how to properly execute his plan. Plus, he has a heart of gold.
Our first project was a piggery which has had exponential growth and success. To date, it has impacted over 11,000 people and is making waves, as it has created a sustainable career for thousands of Ugandans, who are working their way out of poverty and into a middle class; something that is new to Uganda. The photo below is of me with my partner JoAnna, Peter, and all of the new pig farmers! This was a momentous occasion, with everyone meeting in the community training center, dressed in their best attire.
Below is a photo of us handing out piglets to the first phase of farmers. The farmers formed several small co-ops of 7-10 amongst each other. Each farmer was given a female pig and each co-op was given a male pig, to serve the female pigs. After the first farrowing, each farmer gives one piglet back to the farm to pay for the piglet they received and to perpetuate the project. All of the piglets beyond that are sold as profit for the farmers. Farmers train, hands-on, in this community training facility on Peter's 32-acre community model farm in Masaka, Uganda.
The supply for pork is nowhere near the demand, so thousands of people are profiting from this opportunity.