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Amy had visited war-torn northern Uganda 5 years previously, and she now felt challenged to return to the place where she says she ‘left her heart’. In particular she wanted to do something positive for one of the many refugee communities displaced by war who are living in thatched mud huts and face a daily struggle to fetch water for their families. This water which is often shared with animals is unsafe and brings sickness and disease to those who are forced to use it for drinking, cooking and washing.
After praying about how she could help she searched the internet and found us here at the Mission 4 Water website. We are a Christian project, bringing clean water to thousands throughout Uganda that welcomes volunteer groups. Soon she was communicating directly with us to arrange a two week Mission Trip to Lira for herself and six others from her church in the United States in Washington, DC.
A major challenge
Directors Sue and Sunday, who is also the main engineer, visited Barr Sub County, Lira District to find the community that was most in need of clean water, only to be shown two communities needing help. This was an impossible choice, how could they possibly chose just one and leave the other to suffer? So the request went out to the volunteer team to raise enough funds not for one but two wells, drilling both at the same time, with two teams!
Back in the US the volunteers took up the challenge and began fund raising – organising a 6km run, the average distance people in Uganda walk to access water. That event, together with many generous donations from church members, friends and family raised a staggering $13,000, enough money in fact for four wells. This was a fantastic result and we praise God for this wonderful provision of funds.
Digging new water wells in Lira
On 16th August they arrived at Entebbe Airport and traveled 7 hours north, finally arriving in Lira. For the next ten days they worked each morning alongside the Mission 4 Water Ugandan drillers at the two villages. The team were a source of fascination for the local children who had never met visitors from the USA before. The volunteers worked on manual augering, bailing, preparing filtration, laying bricks, plastering, and finally inserting the pump. Emotions were high when, on the last day, they finally handed over the two completed shallow wells to the overjoyed communities, knowing what a huge difference this water was going to make in their lives.
Volunteers, husband and wife Isaac and Lacie, together with Julianna hand augering
They also distributed 100kg of rice, 100kg of maize flour, 100kg of beans, 40 ltr of cooking oil, 2 huge bags of charcoal, 80 sets of children’s clothes and 80 pairs of kids shoes to the many community members who had gathered to express their appreciation for the greatest gift – clean and safe water.
The volunteers painting the maternity ward.
Whilst in Lira the group also renovated a maternity ward at Barr Hospital and left paint to decorate other wards too. They also visited various other projects in the area to gain an insight into the daily lives of Ugandan people. One of the most moving was undoubtedly a home visit where they met orphaned teenagers who now have the huge responsibility of running their home and looking after their younger brothers and sisters since the death of their parents.
Coming back for more
The whole trip concluded with a short camping safari at Murchison Falls National Park with a memorable dusk cruise on the River Nile to fully appreciate the wonders of God’s amazing creation that is – beautiful Uganda, the pearl of Africa. When asked if they would consider doing another Mission 4 Water trip in the future, without hesitation they replied that they were already planning another trip next year!
So from all of us here at Mission 4 Water we say Thank you National Community Church, Washington, DC we’ll see you again soon.
Would you like to learn more about volunteering or helping our work?
Please tap or click here for our volunteering page to find out more about volunteering to join a drilling team, bringing a group to Uganda to drill a well, or about raising funds to provide clean and safe water. We look forward to speaking with you.