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Naibiri Health Center II and How One Nurse’s Persistence Paid Off!

Meet Kamoyi Wilson a nurse at the Naibiri Health Center II in Uganda

Kamoyi Wilson Nurse at the Naibiri Health Center II
Kamoyi Wilson stands in front of the Naibiri Health Center II in Uganda

Even as a child Kamoyi Wilson knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to help people!

His dream was to one day become a doctor, so in school he focused on science classes. “Helping the sick has always been my passion” he explains.

Unfortunately for Wilson, the fees to go to a medical school were too much for his family to afford, so instead he decided to become a nurse.

Starting work at the Naibiri Health Center II

After his graduation he started working at the Naibiri Health Center II and immediately fell in love with the work. The hours were long and exhausting, but every day he got to help people and would go to sleep each night tired but happy.

After a few months he started thinking ways he could make things better for the patients. There were two issues that continued to kept him up at night. The first was that the medical center did not always have enough medicine and when it did, it wasn’t always the best. He began to lobby for better access to medications and eventually his efforts paid off. Now the health clinic has all of the medicine it needs! With that issue solved, he turned his thoughts to the second issue – access to clean water.

The Water Situation at Naibiri

While the facility was not entirely without water, the situation was far from ideal. They had a system that collected rainwater from their roof into a large tank. However this rainwater system had no filter and the rusty roof and dusty pipes affected both the taste and the purity.

During the rainy season and for the next few months the facility had water, but during the dry season, the situation was more desperate. With the tank dry, the only option was to walk for water. The nearest well was a long walk from the center, and coupled with the sheer volume of patients being treated each day, it began taking a toll on the staff.

The health center’s cleaner volunteered to take on the task of fetching water, but she soon realized that she was spending more time walking to and from the well than doing her job. As a result, the facility was not as clean or hygienic as it needed to be.  She would also end each day exhausted. Other staff members and even patients and visitors tried to help by taking turns walking to the well, but there was never enough water.

The local authorities were sympathetic, but unable to help. Their priority had to be supplying the medicine and while they saw the importance of clean water, they just didn’t have the funds.

Drop in the Bucket were  in town meeting with the local district water office and were told about the water situation at the health center. We were looking for a health center in the area and after the meeting went straight to Naibiri. As soon as we saw the situation, we knew we were in the right place. This was somewhere that could really use our help.

We commissioned a hydro-geological survey and found a location that was likely to support a well. The drilling itself was fairly straightforward and within a day we drilled down 50 meters to hit water. The test results were great! This water was clean and free of impurities or contaminants.

The Naibiri health center now has clean water and everything has changed! Wilson couldn’t be happier and the staff are beyond grateful for his persistent lobbying.

Naibiri Health Center IINaibiri Health Center II

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Clean water: Making life better for a grandmother in Oturuloya-Lagwe Dola

Meet Acan Margaret

In Uganda, it is not uncommon to find children being raised by their grandmothers. This usually happens when the parents are no longer together or when one or both of the parents has died. One such family is Anena Kevin’s.

Anena and her brother Ezra are being raised by their grandmother Acan Margaret. We met Acan as she was collecting water at the well that Drop in the Bucket had recently completed in Oturuloya-Lagwe Dola village in Uganda. “I have my two lovely children that I take care of. After my daughter (their mother) and her husband separated, she had to take a job in town to make ends meet.”

The girls’ mother sends money when she can but it is never enough. The elderly woman does her best to take care of the children by growing vegetables in her garden.  The garden helps, but the main thing the family needed was safe drinking water. Not just for the children but Acan was also struggling without clean water.

Before the well

“We got all of our water from an open well that was 2km away. We used this water for cooking, cleaning and even for drinking,” reveals Acan. The open well she is referring to is an open body of stagnant water that is also used by goats and cows. Even a brief look at the open well reveals green algae, tadpoles, worms frog eggs and other pondlife. Nothing that you would want to see when you are looking for water to drink.

“Each time I saw my children drinking that water, it always felt like I had given them poison to drink.”

Acan felt pangs of guilt whenever she gave that water to the girls. “Each time I saw my children drinking that water, it always felt like I had given them poison to drink.” Acan shudders as she relives the memory. “I couldn’t stop them from drinking it because I knew they were thirsty.”

The guilt was amplified when her children got typhoid or other waterborne diseases. Acan sighs resignedly and says “I am already old and don’t have much to lose, but my children have their whole lives ahead of them”.

On days when she had the energy, she would make the walk to the nearest trading center. Th walk was two kilometers away, but due to her age it took her a long time to get there and back. “I used to walk to the trading center when the girls were at school. The walk there with two empty jerricans was okay, but the walk back took longer. It was tough, but it was worth it to see the girls drinking clean water.” says Acan.

Because of the distance, Acan started taking smaller jerricans.  This made her return trip carrying the water more manageable. But then they only had enough water for drinking. For everything else they still had to rely on the dirty water.

Another challenge she faced

Besides the distance, there was another challenge with getting water from the dirty well. The well was at the bottom of a hill and you had to climb back up a muddy bank once you had your water. People would often fall on their way back.

“One time I got stuck about halfway down the slippery slope. It had just rained and the ground was slippery. I was carrying water at the time, but I could not go forwards or backwards without falling down.” recalls Acan. Lucky for her, she was rescued in time.

Luckily for her, her granddaughter Acan Evelyn was on her way back from the garden and heard her cries for help. Acan was so happy to see her and get rescued.

Acan Margret looks down at the floor and in a voice barely louder than a whisper says “ If it were not for you, I would have fallen to my death or broken a leg fetching water. She is happy that Drop in the Bucket came to the village and drilled a well.

“I am confident that my family will now be consuming clean water since this organization (Drop in the Bucket) has gifted us a new well-functioning borehole. Thank you very much,” appreciated Acan.

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World Refugee Day 2017

Today is World Refugee Day. Drop in the Bucket’s team spent the day in the Palabek refugee settlement in Uganda where we are working to provide clean water to the 31,000 South Sudanese who have fled their homeland because of famine and conflict. More than three million people, or a third of South Sudan’s population, have fled their homes, creating Africa’s biggest refugee crisis since the Rwandan genocide. These refugees have been given a small plot of land in Uganda and are now attempting to start over in their new country.

 

This morning as we drove out to the settlement to do our work, the reality of being a refugee became very personal. A young South Sudanese student who is being sponsored to attend high school in Uganda is interning with the DROP drilling team for this summer.  His name is John Lual Deng and he is studying Agriculture at Kampala University. Deng grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya during the war.  But because of the opportunity he has been given to attend school, he is excelling academically.

John Luol Deng tending to a lamb in Uganda

 

Deng’s dream is to teach his people about farming.  He believes that South Sudan has vast potential to grow food and should never experience death because of famine! His dream is for his children to know a life without war and suffering, a place where people live peacefully and abundantly.  His face lights up when he talks about more efficient methods of irrigation and organic fertilizers. His dreams may be big but they are attainable and he is prepared to work for them.

Today Deng is working to provide clean water to the refugee camp. He believes in DROPs mission to provide clean water to these people as they take the first steps toward building their new lives.  They may have only a few possessions but what they do have is hope…. hope for a new beginning…. a land where their children can live without fear….. and a place where they can get an education and thrive.

On this International Refugee Day, as we look around at the Palabek refugee settlement, we do not see the faces of sad desperate people. We see a bit of optimism and a glimmer of a new beginning. We see vast human potential!

Please help us make this possible

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Check out our latest Video

Award winning music video director Nathan Karma Cox recently came out to Uganda to check out our work firsthand. He put together this video with graphics from our friend Rodrigo Gava.

The music is a remix of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs song “Under the Earth” that they were kind enough to give us to use in the video. Special thanks to Karen, Nick and Brian from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tony and Laura from Ciulla Management, Joe Betts from BMG and everyone from UMG for making this happen and being so supportive.

Also special thanks to Nathan Cox, Rodrigo Gava and of course Nick Launay and Ming Vauze for their amazing remix.

We hope you enjoy the video and if you do please consider sharing it on your social media channels.

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Progress at Madera

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has donated to our fundraising campaign to provide clean water and toilets at the Madera School for the Blind in Uganda. This is the largest project we have ever taken on for a single school and it is considerably more expensive than anything we have done in the past, but it is also one of the projects we are most proud of.
Boys sink next to the toilet
Madera School For the Blind -Boys Urinal
Madera School For the Blind - pupils get out of the boys dorm
Here are some photos that show the construction that is coming along nicely. Both sets of septics are now finished and both sets of toilets are almost done. In the photos you can see a sink and the boys urinal that are close to being finished. We still have to finish the showers and we still need to raise some money for the solar pump. If you are interested in making a donation please click here
Thank you so much for making this all possible with your amazing generosity and support.

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Madera School For the Blind

DropInTheBucket-DecemberNewsletter-Madera
Help Shine a New Light for Blind Children in Uganda
Every child deserves a clean and safe place to learn and play. Help us build a proper sanitation facility for the only School for the Blind in Uganda.
For many parents in Uganda, just taking care of basic needs for themselves and their children can be challenging. Taking care of a blind child with special needs is just not possible for many families.
The St. Francis Primary School for the Blind fulfills those needs. Since 1955, it has been the only school in all of Uganda dedicated to educating visually impaired children.
One of the biggest problems facing the school is sanitation. The school’s only toilet is a single dirty pit latrine that would be intolerable even for children with sight. Moreover, this single toilet is currently shared among the boys and girls. The school desperately needs better and separate toilets.
Drop In The Bucket is a nonprofit organization that has been building wells and sanitation systems in schools throughout Africa. We have reconfigured the design of our toilet specifically for these children. The total cost of the project will be $80,000.
If you could imagine what your day would be like without a toilet, please consider making a donation. Just a $20 donation will help provide a cleaner place for these kids to thrive.

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This is Winnie Ayute

Winnie Ayute (15 years), Agama Primary School:
Winnie Ayute2
I’m in Primary Six and our school is one of the largest schools in the district. There are 790 pupils including 342 girls. Before Drop in the Bucket drilled a well on the school compound, nearest source of water was a swamp at the Agule village which is about two kilometers away. We used to fetch water, which meant carrying 20-litre jerry cans on our heads. We hated the task because it is very far to walk and we had to walk through bushes. Because the filled jerry cans were heavy we would have to stop and rest along the way. Our teachers would angry when we were late getting back to class.
Sometimes boys from the village would wait for us at the water source and would mess with us. Usually they were just playing, but they would grab our containers, which made us even later. After school I would walk home at 5pm in the evening. Once I was home I would be told to fetch water from the same source for our home. At school we would fetch water in a group but at home I would go alone, which would scare me.
Winnie Ayute5
We are now happy that we no longer walk distances to fetch water. The bore hole Drop drilled at our school is located within the compound and it has clean water for us to drink and wash. I also come here to collect water when I return home, so I’m saved from walking in the bushes and I will no longer be disturbed by boys. I feel I’m safe now because of Drop in the Bucket and the well.
Winnie Ayute4

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Check out our Holiday Video

We just launched our new fundraising platform that allows people to contribute the individual items that it takes to build a well, and our good friends at Kilograph helped us put together this great Holiday video. Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 4.26.53 PM
You can check out the video here
Or go straight to this link to see how you can help.

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Gardner Denver partnership news

Thanks-You-Gardner-Denver
Industrial machinery giant Gardner Denver has donated a state-of-the-art drilling compressor to Drop in the Bucket! This top of the line compressor has found a new home at our compound in Soroti, Uganda, and will be instrumental in speeding up water drilling efforts. Thanks to this partnership, we will get more women off the path fetching water, and onto the path towards a higher education. For more information about this partnership please click here.

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Sean’s lemonade stand

Sean decided to set up a lemonade stand to benefit “Drop In The Bucket” over the summer. His little sister, Isabella, helped too.
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He even had a mascot!
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On separate weekends, Sean set up stands at:
City Hall Park:
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At his old public school:
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At Rockaway Beach
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And he even educated tourists about “Drop In The Bucket” at the Brooklyn Bridge:
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Thank you Sean and Isabella, you two are amazing!