We are so excited to share the pictures of five of the new wells built in Zambia! The final two will be built in July once the rainy season is over. We are so thankful for our partners in Ellie Hamby and Shadreck Sibwaalu, who executed the building of the wells!
Caroline Cormack is a Board Member for Living Water. She traveled to Zambia in the summers of 2010 and 2013 to work as a clinical supervisor with Harding University's Speech Pathology group (HIZPATH). During her time there in 2010, she made contacts (Ellie Hamby and Shadreck Sibwaalu) for building wells in Zambia. The Living Water Project was able to build 3 wells in Zamba in 2012. In the summer of 2013, Caroline returned to Zambia and was blessed with the opportunity to travel with Shadreck to see one of the wells built. Here is her account of that day. During my last week in Zambia, Shadreck contacted me about taking me to see one of the wells that the Living Water Project funded. I eagerly said yes, and off we set one morning to drive in the middle of nowhere to see wells. Along the drive, I asked Shadreck several questions about the water situation and well digging process in Zambia. Here is what he shared with me:
Zambia's weather has two extremes: The rainy season (from October to March) and the dry season (from April to September). This plays a huge part into the water supply and the digging of wells. The villages dig shallow wells from December to July. Those shallow wells dry up late July. Then they must travel 20-30 kilometers for the nearest clean water source, which is government wells in other villages. Shadreck said the best time to drill is early July through late September. Drilling is not possible during the rainy season. Shadreck has gone around Zambia to identify villages in need. He has identified 24 remaining villages in need who currently have to travel at least 20 kilometers for the nearest government well. The shallow wells, or essentially mud puddles that the villages drink from, carry the disease of bilhazia. It is common for people to die from this. He said the government will help with medicine to treat bilhazia but haven't yet built clean wells in all areas. The Gwanganzu village that we visited that day stated they have had no deaths from water related issues since the well was built! The typical well usage for a medium sized community (500) is 2400 L per day. They are now using it to grow fresh vegetables for the community as well!
After our three hour drive, we arrived at the community of Gwanganzu. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was not this.
In my first world mind, I was expecting a huge well, like that in an old Pioneer movie with a wicker basket to lower down. I knew it was a hand pump well, I knew it was Africa, but I still had romanticized the thought in my mind. So naturally I said to Shadreck, "Where is it?" And he smiled and said, "Right there!" And I said "Where are the people?" And he graciously explained to me that this well services a combination of several villages, including villages over the mountains you see in the above pictures. The surrounding communities have formed a "Well Committee." They are responsible for making sure that everything is kept up to date and clean. When the well is built, Shadreck locks the hand pump until the committee has taken the proper steps to educate the village on well usage and has built a fence around the well to keep out livestock. In fact, that day when the first committee member arrived, Shadreck immediately told him that they needed to build a tighter fence to keep out the livestock and wild animals.
As the people of Gwanganzu began to arrive, one thing became very apparent. I was the first Makuwa (white person) many of them had ever seen, especially for the children. They were intrigued by my obvious paleness, given I am whiter than most white people. They took full liberty to touch me, poke me, pinch me, and tried to "rub" the white off my skin. I have spent a lot of time in various third world countries, but for some reason, this moment was more impactful to my life than even the first time I was exposed to true poverty. These precious children were fascinated with me because I don't exist in their world. Their world is bare feet, living in mud huts, no media, and until recently no given clean source of water. My world would be absolutely unimaginable to them, in which people never go hungry, expect clean water anywhere they go, and never have to do without shoes. Yet they were so joyful, so happy, and felt so blessed for having a well. Because, you see, before the well was built, this was their reality. This was their water source.
And so we spent 3 hours with the community. People came to thank Living Water for the well. I was able to pump water for some of the village people, which they thought was hilarious. I even got a tour of the amazing garden and the irrigation system put into place for that.
At the end of our visit, Shadreck gathered the village and they spoke a heart felt thank you to Living Water. I reminded them that our being there and the presence of the well was all because of the mighty God that we serve. I then got a picture with the Well Committee and we were on our way.
It was an amazing day. The Living Water Project has since chosen to fund 7 more wells in Zambia, per Shadreck's list of the most needed areas. Amongst the areas given, the people have the following current water sources: dams, ponds, rivers, and shallow wells. Most are shared with livestock. We received word last week that 5 of the 7 wells have been completed, and the remaining two will be completed after the rainy season! We will be posting pictures of the new Zambian wells soon. Thank you to all who are contributors to this great need. I will leave you with pictures of some of the precious faces who are benefiting from the clean wells in Gwanganzu.
November, 2013Over the past few months, the Living Water Project has partnered with Exile International (www.exileinternational.org) for a clean water project for the Peace Lives Center in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo. This project serves the campus at PLC with a reliable source of clean water captured from rainwater and held in a series of protected storage tanks at the site. Instead of paying several hundred dollars a month for water of questionable quality to be trucked in, it now is collected for free on site and is even being distributed to some in the surrounding community.
The list of needs for helping out former child soldiers in Congo is long and complex, but it is an honor to at least be able to provide them with the basic necessity of clean drinking water because of the generosity of donors from Otter Creek.
Here are a few pictures of the new water system, and those who are happy to now have clean water!
On November 18, Living Water teamed up with Presents With a Purpose at The Well Coffee House in Nashville, Tn. Nashvillians came to shop amid a global marketplace, buying gifts to support non-profit organizations. The event raised $18,000 total for all the organizations that participated. Living Water presented a booth allowing people to buy the gift of clean water. We are very excited to report that $6288 was committed to clean water projects from this event! Living Water would like to especially thank Linda Zelnick, Jessica Schwieger, and Jennifer Thompson for their help with the running of the booth! Thank you to the Bennett and Schwieger families for organizing and providing tangible gifts of t-shirts, water bottles, and ornaments. Props to TJ McCloud for setting up a running water well at the booth. Thank you to Sarah Wilson for the pictures of our booth! Your participation has helped supply clean water to those in need.
No matter where you live, you can help too! If you would be interested in organizing a "Presents With a Purpose" in your area to benefit Living Water, please contact Living Water for details!
The Living Water Project is pleased to announce that it has transitioned from a ministry of the Otter Creek Church to a 501(c)(3) organization (application pending). Living Water’s new tax-exempt status enables us to receive matching gifts from companies, apply for grants awarded by NGOs and more. All future donations should be made out to “The Living Water Project” and sent to 401 Franklin Road, Brentwood, TN 37027. Stay tuned for online giving opportunities!
We want to express our deep gratitude for the continued support of the Annual Living Water Yard Sale! Thanks to the more than 60 volunteers spanning 8 decades, the 2013 Yard Sale was a huge success! Over $21,000 was committed to clean water projects over the course of the week of September 20. These funds were raised not only through items sold at the yard sale, but also through a lemonade stand coordinated by a local home school co-op and many generous donors. A special things goes to Linda Zelnick (LW Board Member) and Jennifer Thompson (long time volunteer to LW) for coordinating this sale from beginning to end!
13th Annual EventThe Living Water Yard Sale
Join Us September 20 (Friday 7am-2pm) September 21st (Saturday 7am-1pm)
Collecting Sale Donations Living Water will collect your donations in the Otter Creek Gym Sun, Sept 15 - Wed, Sept 18. NOTE: Some "large item pickups" are available for oversize items only, the evenings of 9/16 and 9/17 (contact David or Dia Duer | OC Directory).
Calling All Volunteers Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks: sorting items, picking up large items, distributing flyers in your area of the community, working the sale. You might even find some new treasures to purchase. Visit www.tinyurl.com/lwsale2013 to sign up for a volunteer slot.
Target Goal Our goal is to raise enough money to fund multiple wells! Come join in our efforts to provide clean water for communities in need.
“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” John 4:13-14
The Living Water Project www.thelivingwaterproject.us was founded in 2001 by Shanon Dickerson, a member at Otter Creek. When a rare cancer forced him to leave full-time mission work, Shanon decided to serve in a new capacity, even in his final months. Confronted with the reality that thousands die daily from a lack of clean water, Shanon challenged friends to join him in raising money to drill wells in Africa and India. From this initial effort, the Living Water Project was born.
The Living Water Project funds clean and accessible water for people in impoverished areas all over the world, thereby also extending to them the love of God. Because Living Water is completely volunteer-run, 100% of all funds raised go directly toward funding clean water projects.
From Bayonaisse, Haiti, 2008: “The people are so excited! The water is sweet and not polluted. Many people are coming to get water. Before, they had to get water from the river, and sometimes dead chickens or other animals would float into their supply. Residents often became sick from the pollution. The only alternative was city water, which costs $1.25 USD per gallon. This is one day’s wages for most people. Now the water is free, and the people have also been given life!”
How to Get Involved:
Help us communicate our message: • Website design, development and maintenance. • Marketing and publishing of materials. • Follow-up communication with donors and potential donors.
Organize a fundraiser for your life group / office / school to “adopt” a water project: • $1,000 will construct a well in Togo. • $5,000 will construct a well in Haiti. • $3,000 - $10,000 will construct a water system in Guatemala. • $7,000 will construct a well in Sierra Leone, Uganda, and many other countries.
Learn more and spread the word: • Help with construction or just view lives being changed by making a site visit.
Visit our website: www.thelivingwaterproject.us