I'd rather be a refugee

I would rather be a refugee!

It’s hard to explain but sometimes being chased out of one’s home and country is a blessing. A few weeks ago we stopped by well #1 of 50 wells officially needing restoration in Yei County. We had gone there at the request of the new mayor who was pleading with us to work our way through his documented broken wells; some are 20 years old but could still be productive.

The heat comes in waves and the dust never seems to go away as we stand next to a well that has been broken for TWO YEARS. I notice Florence nearby and ask if we can talk to her. Florence turns out to be smart, gregarious, resilient and a just a bit ticked off.

Florence, strong and determined.

Florence, strong and determined.

You see she has given up the opportunities that a 25 year old South Sudanese refugee has in neighboring Uganda to come home and care for her widowed mother and all of the children of both of her two dead brothers. To add misery to misery she is now trekking more than a mile away to the polluted Yei River for water to keep everyone alive…after she boils the water of course.

Taking apart the borehole

Within meters of her home is a well that should be pouring forth life but is now just a dirty, rusting obstacle to step around while making her way down to the river. Drilled in 2008, it has been broken since 2012 and everyone is waiting for the church group who drilled it to come back and repair “their” well. They are not coming back.

Please pay attention to this!

Within hours our crews have torn the well apart, replaced some broken parts and we are back, this time with the mayor, to celebrate the new hope splashing out around this community. The difference now is there is a full committee responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of this well.

The committee members and tasks.

The committee members and tasks.

We plan to restore 100 wells this year along with drilling 50 new ones. It’s but a drop in the bucket in a country as big and as broken as South Sudan, but to amazing women like Florence, one well, the one where her nieces and nephews and mother drink, is the most important well in the world.

Would you please join me in bringing awareness and funding to the work? Share this email with everyone in your community. Tell the story. Give and ask others to do the same. Know a group, organization or person I should meet with? Let's set it up!

The “Florences” of the world are counting on us.