When you get to my age you start looking back at your life. You wonder have you lived a good one? Could you have lived a better one? You look for highlights. You remember fondly, aware that some of your best ever experiences only happen once.
I have been looking back a lot more recently and to be truthful I have felt a little blessed. Today I have realised that ahead of meeting musical heroes, hosting radio shows, being on TV, watching the sun rise and set over Table Mountain or the Grand Canyon there is one experience that has blown the others away.
Not once, but twice I have been there when Fields of Life water drillers struck water and gave a local village the gift of life in clean water. Standing with the community, all expectant, as drillers do their work and then seeing that spray of water burst through the driest earth. Listen to the ululations and squeals of excited people. Watch a village celebrate.
In 2018 in Kaberamaido I was standing near Lois. She was 75. 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.
Then gush. Water is in in the air. 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. 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!
It is an astonishing thing. It changes lives. It transforms communities. What we take for granted, many only dream of. Then the drillers come. Miracle workers I call them. It is the highlight of a life.
Tonight (25.1.23) Fields of Life CEO Tony Gaston will sleep out rough with the Fields of Life drillers in Uganda. I envy Tony being there to see miracles but it is a courageous thing to sleep under the canvas with the drillers. Respect sir and enjoy the miracles. When you are my age you will look back...
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