I remember last July in Arua, the West Nile region of Uganda. On the first morning in our accommodation there was no water. I threw a pampered westerner hissy fit! We discovered that it was just that they had switched off the water in that particular block of rooms. I had had to wait an hour to wash my face and flush the toilet!!
Today I sat with Lois in Kaberamaido. She was beautifully wrinkled! Her soul seemed as smooth as a new born. Her voice sounded like the tender strength of resilience itself. She smiled revealing teeth ravaged by injustice. She gestured towards the place she had had to walk for water. As a child, she carried the water, in clay pots on her head. The walk was around ten kilometres each way. The water was dirty, the same water that the cattle used.
Today, a few minutes after she shared her story, bowing in Ugandan traditional thanksgiving at the feet of Trevor Stevenson the founder of Fields Of Life, the Fields Of Life water drillers struck water… 34 metres down. Charles, our chief hero and miracle worker, in reaching this water, told us that there is an abundance of water. We showed Lois the rocks the team had shattered in drilling through to the water and she could not quite believe it.
Lois waited 75 years for water! 75 years! Clean water. She pointed to her thatched traditional house, maybe now the closest house to the new water pump. The sound of Woolooletters (a high pitched Ugandan scream of excitement!) sounded in our ears. Music was played on the most creative of instruments. I cheered with the drillers. I tried to dance with the community.
And as this transformation of a community and Lois’s life happened around me, I felt tears well up inside me. Tears for Lois, for sure. It was an honour to meet this woman who had survived such hardship and had lived to see clean water so close to her house! I felt tears for a community that genuinely felt blessed and transformed by this gift of water. The celebratory noise was evidence of deep deep joy, bursting out like the water the drillers had found!
Most of all I felt the tears well up for those who donate the money for the wells. I thought of a friend of mine who quietly, without wanting me to mention his name, raises money for wells in Uganda. As Lois spoke to me I tried with all my might to bring my friend into that scene, to show him what he had done for communities around Uganda. Fields of Life have drilled over 700 wells. These amazing drillers who live under canvas, far from home for many months of the year drill over 100 wells a year. Fields of Life are well on their way to 1 million people benefiting from what these wells do. The wells bring hope and a new start. The day before I had been at the ground breaking of a new school in Karamoja. The school came from a well…. but that is another blog.
Tonight I think of Lois, the miracle working drillers and my friend who funds this source of life and health and hope. And I am embarrassed at being so angry at having to wait an hour for water… or even when no hot water comes out of my shower. Lois waited 75 years. Tonight she has water. God bless her and her community in Kaberamaido!
TONIGHT at 8pm you can see it for yourself with Fields of Life - HERE