Heroes Like Dr. Timothy Isabu Sacrifice It All To Rebuild A Nation
We met with Ambassadors, flew in a contingent from Rumbek to hammer out peace in West Lakes State, and helped launch a business training program for women, and along with our local team, surveyed 16 wells to be restored. This is real #waterismore action, and it happens to come as we gear up for the 10th anniversary of our very first well on July 28th!
Our investigation led us to groups of folks, literally fresh off the truck. They told us that people are waiting at the border for any transport that will bring them home. If they can get here, Doctors Without Borders is waiting to provide a bucket with 8 basic items, a “welcome package” including two blankets, pots, matches, a sewing kit, rope, a tarp to sleep under, and a plastic container to hold water. A basic survival kit turned into a housewarming gift…except there is no house.
Before the conflict hit their area over a year ago, Rose and her household of 10 were retrieving water from their village well that ran on electricity. When the crisis hit, the power went out. There was no fuel to run the generator and so the well was useless.
Imagine caring for 10 people under your roof without the ability to provide the basics of water.
Rose owns 12 jerry cans that she and her family fill twice daily. With the well broken, the closest water source was over a mile from her home. Often that walk was not safe so they would need to go into town where they would have to pay 7 South Sudan Pounds per jerry can (about a nickel). That's money that could have been spent instead on food and other basic needs. By the way, a nickel multiplied by 24 (filling 12 jerry cans two times) is $1.20. That's more than the average person in South Sudan has in TOTAL to live on each day.
Rose's home is by the roadside, so often people would stop by her house for water. Just like we are willing to share a cup of sugar with our neighbors, Rose is happy to share water with hers. And in times of crisis, community members are dependent on one another. So of course, you share what you have.
This well was completely restored at the beginning of December and water now flows with ease by the hand pump that was installed.
On the day this well was reopened, jerry cans were lined up. People were excited, ready and waiting. Our team will never forget the cries of joy as clean water was pumped into the jerry cans.
There will be more time for education and work.
There will be more money for food.
There will be more life.
Water is More
Almost equally inspiring have been the faces of communities gathering around well heads once the well is functioning. A well head is something akin to our water cooler except by a multiple that is indescribable. Wells not only provide health for the body, but for the community and the collective soul. Dozens of locals gather around well sites and do what locals do when they gather. In a nation ravaged by war, this is a strong first step to raising the likelihood of peace.