Young and old, male and female these 300 former rebels, soldiers, farmers, and mothers hailing from different ribes, had all been vetted for the $5.00/month job of providing peace and security on a daily basis. Their faces radiated an optimism that their tired, worn out clothes did not.
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.
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.
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.
For the past few weeks, we’ve been getting to know some of the South Sudanese people who are finally able to return to their homes. Just like you and I, they want nothing more than to be at home.
Today there is peace in South Sudan. But peace must be fueled by hope. Hope that comes from clean water, schools, clinics with affordable medicines, food planted and harvested in your own field.
Because of the generosity of our donors, we were able to rehabilitate our rigs and equip our crews so we can continue bringing water and hope to sustain peace in 2019.
With the continued support of people like you, now and through the next year, we can make sure the people of South Sudan have access to clean water to build on the hope they feel now.
People like Mama Esther Gaba.
Mama Esther left her village when it was invaded and burned by rebels. She fled with her children to the “safety” of the bush. But her unwavering spirit and family are back home now.
While in South Sudan a few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of celebrating with Mama Esther and her entire village as we repaired their well. Since our celebration with Esther, we have repaired another 15 wells! We will not stop till everyone drinks clean water in South Sudan.
That’s why we’re aiming to raise $140,000 by Dec. 31 through our year-end campaign, Home At Last. We are more than halfway there!
You can help restore hope and rebuild lives in South Sudan by making your year-end gift to Water is Basic today. There are thousands of mothers like Esther and they need clean water now more than ever. With your help, we can bring it to them.
Till they are all home at last,
Joy and her children are rebuilding their lives in the village of Wuluturu. When they first arrived, the well was
broken. They spent hours fetching water from the Yei River every day.
Thanks to your support, our local team was able to repair that well. Now, Joy and hundreds of other community members can collect clean water right from the heart of their village.
As Joy and people like her begin to rebuild their lives, the demand for clean water is increasing.
Do you believe in the impossible? Here’s why you should.
Sometimes things happen so fast we don’t have time to stop and appreciate their significance. Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our work we can’t see the forest through the trees; we’re so focused on our mission we miss the impossible taking place right before our eyes.
So today, I want to stop and take a moment to reflect on the great things Water is Basic experienced in 2018, thanks to your continued care and support for the people of South Sudan.
Joyce and her 7 children were forced to flee the violence in South Sudan several years ago with nothing but the clothes on their backs. She and her husband were separated during the chaos of the war. Having spent many years in a refugee camp, she was eager to come home and find her husband when the fighting stopped.
She and her children recently made the long journey home. While her husband is still nowhere to be found, Joyce is determined to rebuild her life and the lives of her children.
When our team found Joyce living in an abandoned house, all she asked for was a few Jerry cans to collect water. Water for drinking. Water for bathing, cooking, and cleaning. Water for making bricks to build a new home. Water to plant and irrigate crops.
Fortunately, we had recently restored the well in Joyce’s village. Joyce and her family are among the lucky ones.
From Service Project to Transformation
The 5th grade class at South Elementary School in Midland, Texas was encouraged by the school district to get involved in a service project. What transpired over a few months during their spring semester is what their 5th-grade teacher and project leader, Lesley Stigall, calls transformational.
A Movie, a Book, and a Jerry Can
Lesley introduced the 5th graders to their service project by showing them Water is Basic’s award-winning film RU: Water is Life. They then read the book A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. The class discussed how partnering with Water is Basic to drill water wells in South Sudan not only brings water to those in need but allows younger children opportunities, such as getting an education, that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Once they committed to raising money for clean water in South Sudan, the students began to walk around the school with a partially-filled jerrycan. Lesley said that as the students took on this project, she immediately started to see a difference in their behavior in the classroom. Simply put, she said this project has permanently transformed her students, as they now understand that we are all one people working together for the good of others.
Telling their Story to Others in Midland, Texas
Once the students decided to raise funds for clean water, they needed a way to tell their story and get donations coming in. Every 5th-grade student wrote a personal letter summarizing their project and goals, and then these letters (with pictures of each student) were circulated into the community of Midland, Texas. Water is Basic also created a fundraising page on their website where donations could be made, and this combined approach raised over $3,500.
The school bulletin board was full of thank you letters from those who donated to this project. The letters thank the students for asking them to be involved and praise them for thinking of other children who need clean water and a chance at an education just like they have at South Elementary School.
Start a Project of your Own
Read more about the South Elementary project in the Midland Reporter here.
If you would like to start your own fundraiser, click GET INVOLVED on our homepage and choose, CREATE YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER or click here.
Contact: Doug Fair, firstname.lastname@example.org