clean water = education

My first year of teaching was overwhelming, to say the least. I had all of the tools I needed, but I was not prepared for what was to come.

My class of 27 students had needs as varied as the homes they came from. Some entered the classroom full of hope, others dread. Some wore shiny shoes and backpacks full of new supplies, others entered empty-handed with clothes that barely fit. Not all of them had a celebratory, first-day pancake feast prepared for them. But all of them had water to drink.

In South Sudan, before the civil war, there were more than one million eligible children not enrolled in primary school. Only 6% of 13-year-old girls moved on to secondary school.South Sudanese girls were twice as likely to pass away during childbirth than graduate from school. 

The number one obstacle that keeps children from going to school in South Sudan? Lack of clean, accessible water. 

We are moving from summer into school season. My girls have already started. With all that goes into the start of school, I am mindful of the many girls in South Sudan looking for a close-by well and chance to go to school.

Thank you to all of you who responded to the call to give generously to our #summertime campaign. We raised $32,774 beating our $30,000 goal. 

Let's keep the momentum going and give more water and help another young lady go to school. And another, and another, until we finish the job. 

Educate a girl, give water now!

Steve, Bishop and the entire WiB team, are all so grateful for the generosity of our Water is Basic community, working together, day in and day out, for the people of South Sudan.

Carrie Ward - Executive Director

How Would You Describe Moses' Smile?

"What word comes to mind when you see Moses' face?" 

"Happy," my 11-year-old replied as we enjoyed the recent photos from South Sudan. My 14-year-old said, "joyful."

Happy and joyful are words that come to mind as I see my children bouncing around in an inner-tube tied to the back of a boat. Or when we cool down in the pool with popsicles and icy-cold lemonade before cooking out with our family and friends.

Happy and joyful are not the words you would think to describe a man working in the heat 6 days a week, mud flecks on his face in a land fresh out of a 5-year civil war.

But Moses' sincere smile says it all. A peaceful calm exudes from his eyes just like so many others we know and love in South Sudan.

Moses is a founding WiB well technician who walks 4 miles every day to work. You will never catch him without a smile broader than the smiles on the faces of my children.

He was there when the first well was drilled before South Sudan was a nation. He stayed during the civil war, and now, in peace, Moses and the WiB crew are bringing clean water to communities that no one has been able to reach since before the war.

Moses loves his job, as does the rest of the team. 

Many of you have reached deep and have given extra this summer. We have raised $25,597 towards our #SUMMERTIME goal!

As you enjoy the last weeks of summer, will you continue to encourage our team and fund this valuable work? Let's keep making smiles happen here and in villages all across South Sudan.

On behalf of Moses and the team…Thank you!

Carrie Ward, Executive Director

Proud to Carry Your Bags

On June 22, we descended upon Yei with the largest group yet.

This was history in the making, but not because of the size of the group... 

When South Sudan became its own nation on July 9, 2011, the movement of people and money pouring into the newest nation on earth was unprecedented. Everyone wanted to be part of nation-building - constructing schools, roads, hospitals - all the ingredients for a productive, prosperous country. 

However, when the civil war broke out in December of 2013, it created a reverse process. Money, people, and ideas exited the country along with 1,000,000 refugees. 

What remained were those who were determined to hold high the flag of freedom and independence, the patriots who refused to let the vision of a free and independent South Sudan die. These are the weary, faithful, founding fathers and mothers of this new nation. 

These same local leaders earnestly waited for our group of 13 to land so they could welcome new ideas and energy into their homeland. This historic group included award-winning filmmakers eager to capture this critical story, world-leading visionaries piloting new technology for clean water in the newest country on earth, and trainers longing to see trauma diminished and hope elevated in the hearts and minds of people who have suffered long enough.

This was historic because the flow has been reversed from out to in, by not only the faithful but new partners as well. At Water is Basic, we are are able to use our long term investment in water in South Sudan to facilitate these relationships. While returnees are carrying jerry cans filled with clean water, we are carrying the bags of new partners filled with hope and renewed energy.

Today, five days after we celebrated the 243rd anniversary of the birth of the Great American Experiment, South Sudan celebrates its 8th year of independence. 

Thank you for standing up for this great nation. Thank you for making water available. Thank you for opening doors for us to carry the bags of new and vital partners. 

On this auspicious occasion, will you make a special gift to our work in South Sudan? We are raising an additional $30,000 this summer to make that extra push for water before the heavy rains of August.

Let’s celebrate! Give water now.

Bondh E Shams -  The Solar Water Project  Team

Bondh E Shams - The Solar Water Project Team

The Bricks  Film Crew

The Bricks Film Crew

still basic

Water is still basic. Let me explain why... 

Mary Araba was a resident of Lutaya before civil war broke out in 2013. She is 38 and married with 8 children. The older children left for safety to refugee camps in Uganda during the conflict. But mom stayed behind in Yei waiting for the moment she could return to her fields and bring her children back home.

While she waited, we refurbished. 
While she fretted, we planned. 
While she dreamed, we dreamed too.

That's why we invested over $100,000 in new and refurbished equipment last year.

We know that peace has come, that hope always rises, and we know that water is still basic for people like Mary and her family.

Mary is resourceful. While displaced, she earned an income by baking mandazi (African donuts) to sell in the market. But her passion is farming. She enjoys seeing the fruits of her labor, and the reward of her hard work allows her to pay fees for her small children to attend school. 

As soon as it was safe to return to Lutaya, Mary returned to work in her fields. But the local well was broken. 

Mary resorted to accessing water from a murky puddle in the ground that is reduced to mud during the dry season.

But now, thanks to our generous supporters, with a newly restored well, Mary has access to clean, safe water to drink, cook with, and enough to generously water her crops.

Mary firmly believes that by rehabilitating and drilling boreholes, many IDPs and refugees are going to return, and this brings her great joy.

Water is still basic even in the lean months of the summer. And our team is still making it happen.

As you travel, stay at home, go camping, or do whatever it is you do in the summer, help us keep doing what we do with an extra boost. $30,000 is the equivalent of doing 4 more wells. That's 4 communities who will receive the basics of clean water for the first time. 

So swim, eat s'mores, have fun doing all of the basics of summer! But while you do, please give generously to our friends in South Sudan so they can enjoy the very basics of life.

Let's put our new equipment to task and bring clean water to as many as possible this summer!

The Signs of Peace

The Signs of Peace

I landed in Yei on February 2, amid rumors that troops were massing into town and conflict was imminent.

Nothing could be further from the truth, NOTHING

We landed to find smiling people, buzzing markets with shops opening daily, motorcycle taxis zooming about, football matches filled Freedom Square, and our team was completing our 80th well funded by UMCOR.

We landed to find smoldering fields, not as a result of conflict, but in preparation for new life. We found a city in the thralls of peace and the hope that always follows peace.

Kembe II

Charity Night is a single mother with 8 children who currently lives in Kembe II Community along with others who are internally displaced. She left her village of Spoiri at the beginning of 2017 during the civil war.

While she found shelter during that time, the water from the old well was corroded with rust. She could not afford to pay the fees at the neighboring borehole and resorted to fetching water from a nearby stream.

Currently, Charity farms a small abandoned plot of land to raise money for the family's basic needs and school fees for her children. The original owners fled to Uganda during the conflict.

Thanks to the generosity of partners and faithful donors, on January 18, the restored well opened for the community member of Kembe II to use.

Because all of the original members of the well committee fled during the war, a new committee is being formed with Charity as one of the members. She is proud to do her part on the team to ensure that the well is properly maintained to serve the community long-term.

With the message of peace spreading, Charity anticipates many more returnees to the community. She expressed heartfelt gratitude for the improved health her family will experience as a result of clean water and relief that she will now be able to fill the 12 jerry cans needed for her family with clean, fresh water every day without worry or struggle.

Thank you for giving the very basics of clean water to Charity Night and families in her community.

Evan Goes To South Sudan!

Evan Goes To South Sudan!

I've been following South Sudan, and Water is Basic's work as a donor and now as a board member and feel pretty knowledgeable. The truth is, much of what we saw on the ground exceeded my expectations, then other days, it felt incredibly bleaker. For every smile from a child in a bustling marketplace, there was another child very ill from a very curable disease.