Three for our Third Time in Uganda

DSC_0775

Three clean water wells for our third time in Uganda!

We are kicking off preparations for our third trip to Uganda!

As preparations begin, we are meeting with people to give more information, sending lots of e-mails answering questions, and plans are flying! After all, social media posts, sponsorship letters, and fundraising for our 2017 Uganda Mission team is already underway!

Why Uganda?

Clean water, that’s why.

DSC_0495

The average Ugandan walks 6k a day for water that isn’t even clean.

The bulk of the responsibility goes to young children or girls, and the watering holes are typically unsafe and/or unclean. Contaminated water can cause a wide variety of illnesses, many of which are easily treatable. But, some of which if they go untreated can cause death. However, because many in Uganda cannot afford the medication, let alone the hospital bill, the contaminated water can pose a real threat. Learn more about water illnesses here.

  • Each clean water well that Mission4Water digs serves on average 350 people.
  • Each well costs around $4,000.
  • Each well costs about $12 PER PERSON it serves to provide clean, safe drinking water for the rest of their life!

However, since this year we will be in the Entebbe region (just outside of Kampala), there’s a good chance the wells will service a larger population. – Making the per person cost much lower, but the overall cost about the same.

What Are the Trip Details?

For our third year (in a row), we are sending a group of 15 people to Uganda for two weeks in July to partner with Mission4Water.org to dig THREE clean water wells!

img_7199

 

In previous years we have dug two at a time and left additional money for them to dig wells after we are gone! But, this year, we have been able to work out the logistics to add a third clean water well while we are there!

Our goal is to raise enough funds to dig three wells, and provide them the money for an additional two after we leave!

Why are we stoked? Because after the completion of this year’s trip, this particular mission will have helped Mission4 Water dig 15 clean water wells!.. EACH serving around 350 people, meaning over 5,200 people will have clean water in Uganda after the 2017 trip! A drop in the bucket begins to add up!

As the leaders, we are SO excited to be returning to Sue, Sunday, and “the Boys” (the six full-time drillers) that we can hardly stand it! As a team, we have six people returning from last year’s trip, and are stoked to add an additional nine people to the team! Making this trip a fun generational experience since each year has had people from the previous trips.

This year we will be splitting into three groups during the workday hours to hand auger (drill), dig, prepare PVC piping and filters, lay cement, and pump in order to get three working clean water wells!

The entire process takes anywhere from 7-10 days depending on how deep the holes need to be dug, which depends on the time of year (rainy or dry season), and of course the type of ground we are digging through. – Last year one of the teams could not get past a couple feet of sandstone, ultimately having to abandon the hole and start over!

After the wells are finished and commissioned, the team will head up to Murchison Falls for two days of rest, a safari, and debriefing before returning to the US.

The 411 on Money

You can donate directly here.

Each person that goes on the trip will need to raise funds to cover their expenses during the two week trip which will be $2,950.

As a team, the additional $4,000 per well is not included in the per-person cost of the trip. – So, ultimately we dig as many wells as we have funds to cover.

Last year, with the help and support of local organizations, companies, restaurants, individuals (friends, family, and strangers), a ton of legwork on the part of our team, and the Fairfax JDC doing a learning project and fundraising event, we raised $43,125, significantly over our goal! With this money we were able to send 10 individuals, dig two wells, and send money for additional wells! Miraculously we were able to raise literally THOUSANDS of dollars to change the lives of people on the other side of the world for the rest of their lives.

We are stoked to see how 2017 turns out! We believe that this year will be reflective of the excitement building within the people joining the team, and we have no doubts that this year we will continue to increase the support that we received last year!

  1. We will have our third annual Race for H2Ope 6k Run/Walk in May. – Previously raising $10-15k each year!
  2. We will have another silent auction and house party! – Providing community, laughter, goodies, and of course an amazing support base for our team!
  3. We are a creative bunch, so numerous additional fun events will be planned and coming!

Be sure to keep a lookout for ways to join our community of supporters, meet new people, learn more about Uganda, and of course support an amazing organization with Mission4Water!

Join us on this journey!

Come to our events, follow this blog and our updates on social media, pray for the team, and please consider supporting us financially! Together, we can each be a drop (or two) in the bucket to make a tangible difference in the lives of hundreds upon hundreds of people in 2017!

Advertisements
Three for our Third Time in Uganda

With God (2015)

Originally posted on August 24, 2015.

“With God every project succeeds!” These were the lyrics on the back of a work truck that I noticed today as we were driving to our work site this morning. I’m always amazed at the speaking of God even when I am not intentional about hearing Him. What impeccable timing He has to give me the perfect message for what’s going on in my life at that time….building a well in Uganda!

I can only imagine what God would say to me if I made it a point to focus on Him in all that I do. I hate to think about all the missed God messages because of my carelessness in seeking Him. It has been and continues to be my prayer to seek God with intention in every aspect of my life. Through my seeking I desire to know Him and to strengthen and grow closer to the God identity in me. So much so that I’m not frustrated or  bothered by the challenges of life but rather welcome them as an opportunity to be a part of God’s story for His glory!

With God every project succeeds!

We are half way through the building of the two wells in the subcounty of Barr in Lira, Uganda yet we did not come this far without challenges. The other day we arrived at the worksite to find out there was an obstruction, a large rock lodged down the pipe of our well. It was surmised that a person(s) from the village, perhaps a child out of curiosity threw the rock down the pipe.

Uncertain if we could undo the damage, we proceeded through with our physical corrective measures, but only With God! Our team leader Amy gathered us together and proceeded to pray over the project and resolution to the overnight event that had temporarily halted our progress.

We proceeded to follow instructions to chip away at the lodged rock with hopes that we would dislodge it from our pipe and continue building the well and still finish it according to schedule. We worked with a determined mindset and a willingness if necessary to redo three days of hard work.

We continued to persevere using the apparatus to chisel down the rock into pieces to be removed from the pipe. Within 20 minutes we hit the jackpot, chunks of rocks were pulled out.

Sometimes obstacles and setbacks allow us to see the power of God at work. It’s a reminder that what seems impossible is more than possible with God!  We can get caught up in the work, reaching the goal, or accomplishing the task that we lose sight of the purpose of our work.

Reading that signpost today, was a reset of my mind to put God first in all things. It was a prompting that in all things seek ye first the kingdom of heaven and all other things will be granted. It’s a fact, “with God every project succeeds”! So in my project of life I go it not alone, but With God!

Almost Ready Well

Written by Kimberly

With God (2015)

Most Welcome (2015)

Originally posted on August 23, 2015.

Greetings are natural and expected even if it’s nothing more than a formality. “Most Welcome” is a greeting that is definitely a formality in Uganda, yet it is an expression that has been imprinted on my heart with expanded appreciation since arriving here.  I not only hear welcome I feel and see welcome throughout Uganda!

When we arrived at Kanberra Hotel in Lira, I immediately developed a relationship with Phiona the receptionist who was exemplary of the Uganda term I was sure to hear again, “most welcome.” My request to charge my cell phone prompted the response, “you are most welcome.”  During one of my most welcomed conversations with Phiona I told her we stayed in Kampala at a place called Banana Village. She was very familiar with it and proceeded to educate me on a few things. She told me that Entebbe where we landed means “take a seat” and Banana Village was a place of welcome. Phiona related it to inviting someone to have a seat in your living room as you do with family. She told me Kanberra was also a place of welcome. Quite naturally I expect the welcome experience in the hospitality business, but I saw it in the Uganda culture. I feel it in the gentleness of their tone and the warm spirit that subconsciously begins to soften me.

While building the well and meeting the people in the community “most welcome” was not spoken but rather experienced. The children greeted us with their presence at the entry point of the worksite. Others waved and smiled at us as we drove off in the van. A few extended a helping hand. An elder in the village offered his seat to me in the shade. What an Entebbe moment! My most heart warming experience of “most welcome” came when the female children as young as 2 or 3 years of age would extend their hand and bow with a quick curtsy. With each wave, smile, gesture or word I found myself most welcoming Uganda into my heart!

As we traveled around to visit the various private schools in Lira, we were greeted by the officials and the staff with the words welcome, you are most welcome.  From Kenframa to Amazing Grace and finally to the Uganda Christian Nursing Institute those words were a common language. It was obvious the extension of such a greeting and a warm reception to our given title of friend was customary yet the words resonated with me. It was an energy, a spirit that made me reflect on “welcome” from a different lens. I began to consider the perfect demonstration of “most welcome”…Jesus! The author of what it really means to welcome. Jesus welcomed us to life eternal with Him. With arms stretched out, He welcomed us into the holy family!  There’s nothing like the welcome of Jesus!

So the Ugandan’s most welcome is their walk in the truth of  Hebrews 13:1-3 which reads, keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Entebbe Uganda you are family!

11890911_10207829104191954_8173269297147614940_n

Written by Kimberly

Most Welcome (2015)

Be Hospitable (2015)

Originally posted on August 21, 2015.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable with one another without complaint.

If God has intended to challenge me in new ways on this trip then my first challenge was delivered to me today.

This morning, day 2 of working, we began our day in Ephesians 4 discussing a life worthy of our calling.  Our devotional leader asked us, what gifts we thought we were brining to the trip. My immediate response was hospitality. My greatest joy is opening my home to friends and strangers. I live to provide people a comfortable space to build relationships and share in nice meals. Fortunately, God has provided me with the means to do so.  However, my response must have been one filled with pride rather than of service as only two hours I was confronted by God.

Yesterday, local villagers watched us work on the well and must have realized that we had no place to sit on breaks. So today they gifted us with four beautifully constructed chairs, chairs that according to our coordinator are not easy to come by. At that moment I felt challenged by God. The villagers who sometimes go without food or drink water from contaminated springs were able to care for us, for no reason other than to provide comfort.  I had to ask myself; if I had little or no resources to meet my basic needs or my family’s needs, could I be or rather, would I be as hospitable as I am now? Would I be willing to open my home to friends and strangers if I couldn’t provide for myself?

And just to drive the point home, God left his final statement for me in the form of a small boy and his great act of kindness. As we gathered our things to leave for the day we left a box behind with a single bottle of water. One bold little boy decided to see what we left behind and was elated to find the bottle of water. He immediately turned to a friend, smiled and gave the water the friend.

Challenge Accepted.

Julianna

Written by Julianna

Be Hospitable (2015)

We Hit Water! (2015)

Originally posted on August 19, 2015.

Our first day onsite was a huge success! Before we came, the head of Mission4Water, Sue Morgan, did a scouting mission to see which village would most benefit from a well. Amazingly, she found two right near each other. With the extra labor (us) and no extra transportation costs (because of the closeness of the two villages), she had determined that we could put in two wells for minimal extra money! Needless to say, we were thrilled and came prepared to do just that.

So, our team split up into two different groups and made our way to the sites. Immediately, we became the day’s entertainment for the village. Apparently, if “white people” are an exotic species around these parts, white people doing manual labor are sequin covered unicorns. It seemed like the entire village came out to greet us. And once we started working, they settled in for the show. Despite the blazing sun, the crowd only grew as the day went on.

Our biggest prayer before we came was that we would hit water quickly. As usual, God was not messing around. We hit it on our first try. We were able to dig twenty feet down on the very first day, praise the Lord!

Drilling the well is really hard, of course. We have some big metal poles and manual augers, but it takes some serious muscle power to make that hole. Nothing has ever felt better, though. Seeing the wide eyes of all those children as they watch us work and knowing that they’ve been told that we are doing this because God loves them is pretty much the greatest thing ever. We all feel so incredibly blessed to get to be a part of this.

Please pray that we won’t run into any complications and that, despite the language barriers, we will find a way to develop real relationships with the people of these villages. Thank you again for going along on this journey with us! Your prayers are definitely being answered!

DiggingDrilling2SpectatorsWell Hole11889427_10207829066991024_5321871795830637651_n

When we (first) arrived, these two little girls were collecting water for their families. They just walked all that way to get to the “good water.”

 

We Hit Water! (2015)

The Beginning (2015)

Originally posted August 18, 2015.

We made it to Uganda safely! Just over twenty-four hours after we began our journey. However, once we arrived, we still had to get from Entebbe to Lira. An eight hour drive to the north. It ended up being a blessing that we did. It allowed us to see so much more of the country.

The landscape we passed was beautiful, with stretches of thick jungle-ish (not a word?) shrubbery and other, sparser land punctuated by those striking African trees we all know from the movies. What was more interesting to me, however, were the people we passed along the way and their homes. I had seen them before, those tiny thatched huts that people use to house entire families. I had seen them in quite a few poorer countries across the globe. But this was different. Here they weren’t the primitive lodgings reserved for the underprivileged few who live on the outside of society. Here they seem to be the norm.

Uganda is indisputable a hugely impoverished country.

The other thing that was striking to me was that, while everyone we’ve met have been very friendly, we don’t seem to get the ready smiles and greetings that I’ve found in other areas of Africa. In fact, I don’t see them laughing with each other as much either. I’m sure it’s a fluke, that I’ve just been looking at the wrong times. I’ve only been here a couple of days after all. It’s also likely that they’re not greeting the tourists because this is not a typical tourist area. They’re not used to seeing us. They’re not trying to sell us anything.

I can’t stop thinking that it might be something else, though. That just maybe, as a people group with minimal access to water, a shortage of food resulting in (on average) one meager meal a day, and an entire family sleeping on the floor of a tiny structure cobbled together out of sticks, clay, and cow dung… it might just be that they don’t have much to smile about.

And yet, Ugandans are clearly an active, vibrant people group. Everywhere we’ve been, people are outside, going here and there, hanging out with their friends in front of the local shops. It feels like they are forever in motion, taking jerry cans of water home for their family or heading down the cratered dusty roads, making their way to some place I can only imagine.

It’s that zest for life that is opening my eyes to the fact that God might have brought us here to bless the Ugandans with clean water, but He will likely end up using them to bless us right back.

Huts

* I’m going to post entries in order of experience. However, due to limited time, Internet access and tech issues, most entries will be a few days behind. Also, posts will be contributed by different team members. So, if some entries seem to depict wildly differing experiences or observations, it’s not because of schizophrenic issues.

The Beginning (2015)

Seeking You in Uganda (2015)

11889427_10207829066991024_5321871795830637651_nOriginally posted on August 10, 2015.

Our team member Kimberly wrote a poem about her prayer for this upcoming time in Uganda. May it be a blessing and a source of encouragement to all of us.

I commit my steps
In perseverance I go
On this my journey

I press into you
Moving into your fullness
I know you are there
This terrain I trek
Not knowing what awaits me
For I will not fear
I’m guided by you
And my purpose you will show
In hope I will leap
Walking in patience
I will stand with trust in Thee
Like Christ our Savior
In long suffering
Steadfast in pursuit of you
Unconditional
My heart yearns to love
Despite the darkness Oh, Lord
I walk in my Faith
On this my journey
To Uganda I am called
There I will find you
Seeking You in Uganda (2015)