I hope the photo above grabs you as much as it does me. Take in the full message from their body language.These folks are waiting for our rig to finish their well in St. Phillips Parish. I'm calling the photo anticipation! In the middle of "nowhere", their story is another one of triumph and determination. Next month I'll tell you a bit of their story.
I've been doing a lot of story telling lately. Perhaps it's the wild success of Ru and the places into which it puts me but everyone wants to hear about the birth of Water is Basic in South Sudan.
I wrote some about it last month and it's causing me to reminisce quite a bit lately.
When the folks in Sudan made it clear that clean water was their number one priority, just about everyone said, "it can't be done. Definitely not by using local folks to lead and implement. Self-funding? Never gonna happen."
There were a few 30-hour trips filled with a bit of anxiety where I thought we might not actually get anything accomplished for all this investment of time, money and energy. I would be a liar if I said this has been an easy journey. But something happened when these wonderful people, with so few resources, made it clear what they needed. Something happens when you come face to face with human beings whose birth lottery means their lives are full of an awful lot of misery and pain.
Standing face to face, heart to heart, eyeball to eyeball, knowing you have access to the kind of resources that can really make a difference, well its hard to walk away. Especially when you know the resources required can be given without ever being missed.
So here we are in early 2013 and I can list off a bunch of pretty impressive accomplishments, mid 400's in wells completed and all still pumping water, ten percent of the population of South Sudan given clean water, multiples of families receiving paychecks and investing in the building of their nation and so on.
But this week a far better accomplishment was communicated and it's the one that has caused me to pause, to reminisce, and to be very thankful and yes, even a bit proud.
"We have signed a contract for $26,000 to repair wells in the north".
I've known for some time that our crews have reached the reputation level that has generated partnerships and contracts for new wells and generated important revenue for our work. It's what we always dreamed about.
But now we are even able to go and repair long neglected wells generating crucial revenue and most importantly, tapping that deep aquifer under the ground to produce life giving water.
This is Sudanese signing contracts with Sudanese. This is nation building at its core.
It's taken a lot of effort, a lot of money and a group of donors willing to invest in a work that gives away power rather than wielding it. We have come a long way and have an almost impossibly long way to go.
But if the last 8 years teach us anything, it's that the "impossible" may not be impossible after all, if we are in it for the long haul.
Lets take this vision all the way together by agreeing to do a couple of simple things:
2) Tell someone about our work by forwarding this issue and ask them to join you in giving clean water.
On behalf of all of our friends in SS,
We thank you