At the time of her funeral and thanksgiving service on 16th March 2018 the family of Sylvia Chapman announced that they would love to make a well in Uganda as a memorial. Sylvia had for the last 9 years supported the work of her daughter and son-in law, missionaries in Uganda, Simon with Mission Direct and Sue a founder of the charity Mission 4 Water. The family were overwhelmed by the generosity of so many friends, in fact they raised sufficient to make not one but two wells!
Sue and Ugandan Engineer Sunday, the Directors of Mission 4 Water, met up with Pastor Gilbert in Kumi District, eastern Uganda, to prayerfully seek God’s guidance on the location for the two wells. The first site chosen was in a trading centre near to the small town of Kanyumu. It was adjacent to a new primary school which had been founded by a Christian teacher, now known simply as “Director” who had a heart to see the children of his village receive a better education. He said that he had to pay someone to go on his boda (motorcycle) to fetch water from a stream in jerrycans for the children to drink. When the children lined up, the water was sparingly poured into their plastic beakers but there was never enough. He also explained that there was a Health Centre next door which treated people with malaria and other such common sicknesses, and yet they too struggled to find water.
On the day of the launch of the completed well the whole school of 495 children gathered together with their teachers, and the medics from the health centre, neighbours from the surrounding community, and even the police from the nearby Police Station, they all turned up to celebrate their gift of clean and safe water. They sat in the shade of a big mango tree in the dusty school compound. The visitors from Mission 4 Water, Sue and Sunday, together with Pastor Gilbert and The Director, were seated on plastic garden chairs for the customary speeches, whilst other squeezed on the school benches. The whole group moved outside the school to surround the well where the ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed by Pastor Gilbert, followed by prayers of dedication and prayers for the villagers and school.
The second well was sited in a very rural village community of Kaderuna, about 5 miles away, along a very bumpy, dusty track. The people in this area live mainly in mud houses with grass roofs. They are subsistence farmers who work in the small fields affectionately known as “gardens”. This was the harvest season. Although there had not really been enough rain during the growing season, at least this year the crops had not completely failed as previous years. The people were picking maize (corn on the cob) and drying it on the ground in the sunshine. Once dried it would be ground into maize flour which is mingled with boiling water to make posho, a stable food in this area. Pastor Gilbert interpreted their simple words of overwhelming gratitude which was evident by the joy depicted on their faces as they gathered around their new well. They sang hymns of praise and thanked God and Mission 4 Water and the friends and family of Sylvia Chapman. The ceremony concluded with prayers. They prayed for those back in the UK who were missing Sylvia, particularly her husband, Sue’s Father, Reverend Tom Chapman.
What an amazing and emotional day. How appropriate that others can have a better life following the death of someone special. Because, as they say in Uganda, “Water is Life”.
To make a well in memory of a loved one can be a wonderful way to give life to a whole village, school or health centre after the death of someone close to you. Mission 4 Water will erect a small plaque with a message of your choice and send you photographs to treasure.
If anyone would like to sponsor a well or even make a donation, large or small, to allow more people to access clean and safe water, please contact Sue in Uganda by email on firstname.lastname@example.org or you can see ways to help support our work financially using our donation page or you can find Mission4Water on Facebook.
It cost just £2,500 to bless a whole community, school or village like these with the amazing gift of clean and safe water.