I turned on the tap, and this time, clean water came out.
Back at the Mogotio clinic in Kenya only two months after my first visit, Dominic Mosa and I grinned in front of more than 100 onlookers, then cut the blue ribbon blocking the door of the new water station. Inside the kiosk, we turned two red knobs, and heard a rush of water. Clean water.
Two months ago, mud from the nearby Molo river slid through Mogotio’s pipes, turning sheets brown and stomachs green. Now, with the help of hundreds of donors, a 140-meter well has brought clean water and hope to the staff, patients and nearby community.
It started with a simple idea. We’d use my 32nd birthday – which also happened to be the one-year anniversary of charity: water – as an excuse to help more people in Africa get clean water. I’d ask for $32 donations in lieu of birthday gifts, and hopefully raise enough to fully fund a project.
I’d then fly to Africa with the money and drill the well, sending daily videos of the work to donors and supporters. But we needed to find a project.In northern Kenya, we found Mr. Mosa and a health clinic that desperately needed a break. We made a video, took photos, and asked for your help. We needed $40,000 to build a deep well with an electric pump, repair the tanks and piping, and construct a water station for the community’s use.
It worked. Within 2 weeks, hundreds of you responded with gifts, and more than $59,000 came in.
We went back and, through our partner Living Water International, drilled the well for Mr. Mosa and the people of Mogotio. We hit three underground aquifers, and a column of water shot skyward on the first afternoon of drilling. By day four, more than 7,000 liters of clean water per hour flowed from a pipe. We knew we were on to something, and didn’t want it to end with just my birthday.
We wanted to help more health clinics, so we asked all of you born in September to sacrifice your birthdays and join me. More than 80 people signed up, each asking for their age in currency. As September closed, we’d raised more than $120,000. Enough not only for Mogotio, but enough to fund two other water projects at clinics in the same state.
Yesterday, I visited the Abidah Health Center near Kisumu, the second project funded through these efforts. Clean water ran loudly now through the pipes, and we sat under a shade tree listening to grateful men and women as they stepped forward to offer thanks and gratitude. “We simply have no words” the community leaders said.
Neither did we.
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We’d like to invite you to view the newly launched September site, where our designer Vik has spent more than 100 hours putting the new videos, photos and stories together.
Included is the latest video from Monday’s ceremony at Mogotio where you can watch as we did, children drinking clean water for the first time in their lives.
I head from Kenya to Northern Uganda this morning to check on 18 completed charity: water wells. I hope soon to bring you more stories of lives changed by your donations.
Thanks for your continued support.
– Scott Harrison