Disclaimer: The delay in this post is due to our lack of Internet and power. Enjoy!
On Wednesday, both teams celebrated as we said goodbye to our wells, #85 and #86, built through our partnership with Mission 4 Water. In the morning, the village communities hosted a commissioning ceremony for each well that included speeches from the community leaders and Mission 4 Water’s executive director, a promise from the newly-formed water committees to protect and maintain the wells after which a shiny blue ribbon was cut for each well symbolizing its inauguration. We cheered loudly with ear-to-ear smiles, while celebratory water was pumped from the bright-blue well and we prayed that these wells would bring life to these communities and anyone who used them.
Yet, there is so much more to these wells and this mission than a mere plastic pump that outputs clean water while sitting on top of a concrete slab. The previous ten days had been filled with hard work, love, dedication, joy and laughter, which we left behind in the foundation of each of these wells. Instrumental to turning our efforts into a working well are the co-founders of Mission 4 Water (Sue and Sunday) and the dynamic duo that have led this team (Amy and Krista). The unsung heroes are the six drillers who we have had the sincerest honor and privilege of working alongside in the construction of these wells.
Lovingly referred to as the “driller boys”, Emma (Emmanuel), John, Laban, Peter, Richard and Albert work with grace and integrity, never complaining when a challenge occurs or frustrated as they watch us struggle and sweat, knowing they could do any part of the well-digging process with greater efficiency since they have built ~90-95% of the wells on their own, without partnering with a group of volunteers. Everyday, these men were always there to gracefully step in when we inevitably got confused, stuck or were doing the wrong thing. Each of their attitudes, sense of humor and kindness made our workdays a refreshing, joyful adventure and a testimony to teamwork and community irregardless of culture and language. It was a reminder to find peace and laughter in the midst of any circumstance. To honor and share a meal with our six friends, we invited them to dinner on our last night in Rukungiri. With matoke (a local favorite of savory mashed bananas), laugher and a dance circle, we celebrated the work accomplished and the relationships we created and fortified over the last ten days.
Our interactions with the driller boys mirrors how much our team has poured into each other over the last two weeks. What I love about this particular mission trip and the relationship we are building with Mission 4 Water is the unintentional impact that happens as a side effect to the tangible work, but is equally important. While providing clean water is our top priority/objective and is the description line for this trip, our mission is not just about traveling once a year to Uganda to dig two wells. We are invested and committed to this cause of clean water, but our cause is multiplied by the love and support shown towards each other, the people in the villages and the staff and drillers of Mission 4 Water. It allows each person on this team to explore a new culture, challenge and deepen his/her faith, strengthen our understanding of humanity, learn about other amazing organizations on the ground in Uganda doing God’s work. All of these things work together to glorify God first and foremost.
Dinner was less of a “last supper” and more of a “see-you-next-year-but-before-we-go-lets-laugh-one-more-time” supper. We continue to pour into these relationships and into our team to build a deeper and stronger foundation for the growth of God’s kingdom. We’d be foolish not to recognize that people, experiences, the process and laughter create the platform for God’s glory, on which He can use as a jumping point to further His good works through us, both in Uganda and in DC. So for now, as we pack our bags to head back to the chaotic reality of home, we leave with joy, laughter, memories, friendships, two wells and a piece of our hearts that has been broken for Uganda … until next year!