Emmanuel is home with his family for Christmas.
Emmanuel Dogga is 25 years old and has been working with Water is Basic since May of 2012. I enjoyed spending the day with Emma and crew a couple of weeks ago as they worked diligently to restore a well in Balum Uke. For me it was hard to miss Emma amongst the crew working on our 60th well restoration of the year; he was the guy in bright yellow with an engaging smile. Neither he nor anyone on the crew took a break for more than 5 minutes all day. They are all an impressive bunch.
Emmanuel was born in 1989. It was the end of the Cold War but smack dab in the middle of Sudan’s own brutal war. His father died two weeks after he was born so Emma went to live with his stepmother. War, disease, and poverty take a terrible toll on a nation and Emma’s stepmother did not survive the war either. So when he was 14, now on his own, Emma started elementary school. He attended for one year at a time then, took one year off to work and earn his school fees. Free public education is a rarity in many places and is almost unheard of in Africa.
At 20 Emmanuel took up driving a small motorbike taxi called a bota bota in a long-term plan to pay his wife’s 6,000ssp ($1,500) dowry. It was while driving that bota bota that Bishop and Anngrace Taban of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church heard Emma’s story. Impressed with his character, his work ethic and his commitment to the future, Anngrace loaned him the money for the dowry and hired him to drive for the Christian Women’s Empowerment Program.
It wasn’t long before he impressed enough people at Water is Basic to join our team. He has been with us ever since. Today he arrived back home with his wife Nora and their son for Christmas. All of our crewmembers are on their way in from the field for Christmas. They are very much aware of your support and what it means to the people of South Sudan. They experience it in person every day and are looking forward to doubling our restored wells this next year.
Meanwhile, they are taking a much-needed rest. From all of us at Water is Basic: Merry Christmas.
The WiB Team