You may remember at the end of last year when Geminy Maw contacted me. Geminy is the granddaughter of the late Maria Maw MBE who was and still is my inspiration for everything I do in Uganda. Gem is an amazing young woman, a bit like her grandmother, and while she was spending time in Queenstown, New Zealand she offered to raise funds for St James and in particular she desperately wanted to provide a bore hole as she knew the children had to walk a long way for safe drinking water.
Geminy held lots of events in Queensland and I supported her by doing a sponsored 5K swim here and many of you sponsored me, so thank you!
Unfortunately at the time, we didn’t raise enough money for the borehole, but to improve the situation at St James we invested the funds in a big rainwater harvester which would give some relief. It was erected beside the Hambridge Hall, the classroom block with its big metal roof, ideal for collecting rainwater. We had the harvester up and running in time for the following rainy season and it has been a great help, but only when it rains!
Geminy carried on her hard work to raise funds for the borehole and then in June I received this Face Book message from her:’i have the most AMAZING news ever, i have managed to get my big, big boss to donate all the rest of the money we need for the borehole!!!!! at the moment i have $1,860 in the bank from my fund raising in the north island, i also have a collection pot at home so i will count that out then add onto the total but it should take us to over $1,900… cant wait to hear back from u, sooooooooooooooo excited!!!!!!!!! 🙂
Gems spirit and dedication was noticed by Lindsey, her boss in New Zealand. He emailed me with the following ‘The work you are doing is quite inspirational Gerry, I just want to let you know what a great advocate you have in Gem, her passion and enthusiasm is just over flowing and quite contagious I must say!’ He goes on to ask for details about St James and about installing a borehole and then adds ‘We would like to help here and the bore seems to be quite high up on the list of things that would be of benefit and indeed a goal of Gems.
I have committed to Gem that we will fund the well but I would also be willing to spend some time on assisting in the process if needed as the outcome we want to help with here and I am sure your goal is to provide a long term water supply for the village.’
Since this amazing offer was made I have been busy over the summer inquiring into the best company to carry out the work for us. With James’ help I got quotes and details from three and decided on Thaddaeus and his company Steadfast Supplies and Services Limited in Kampala, who had done a good job installing the lightening conductors into St James earlier this year. Fortunately I have an acquaintance in the business so was able to check things with him as this was unknown territory to me!
At the end of July work started with a ‘Hydro-geological survey and borehole siting to determine the water table or volumes’, followed by the drilling of the borehole at the end of August to a depth of 80 metres then the installing of pipes and hand pump. Fortunately the children were on holiday during the drilling process, which was good for ‘Health & Safety’, though of course there is really no such thing in Uganda!
When the children returned on to school on Monday 8th September they were amazed to find a borehole on their school compound and even happier on Friday 12th when they had their first drink of fresh, pure, clean, safe water! There was much celebrating! The water has been tested for its quality and projected to give many years yield whatever happens to the water table. And even I can drink it!
The last comment from Thaddaeus was ‘Let me once again share this great moment with you about the completion of our work of drilling and installing a borehole at St. James Nakakabala. All went well and we thank you again for giving us the opportunity to work with you and also supporting the school and children at Kamuli. We hope and pray that many people will benefit from this enormous water source and you can also use it to turn around many lives of people around there.
We have been very honored to work with a person like you and James. We had a very wonderful time with James, the children sang and danced for us, there was even time for games…. Oh!!! Our time at St. James was filled with total joy and happiness. Wishing you all the best with this borehole and please enjoy this fresh water. Have a blessed day.’
Thaddaeus was very kind and agreed to take photos of the work from start to finish and I will attach them to the following emails. He also took video which is on YouTube!
So did you enjoy this wonderful news? I still cannot quite believe it! This is what I wrote to you in my March Newsletter: ‘I hope, in the not too distant future we will be able to afford to sink a borehole in the compound to serve everyone at St James plus some of the families who live nearest to the school.
I cannot remember if I told you the answer the children gave James and I when we gave them the choice of completing Hambridge Hall, the block of four classrooms, or putting the money you had all helped me to raise last year towards a borehole. Well, they chose the classrooms, saying they could cope with collecting the water from the distant borehole. Shows how much they really value the education they are being offered!’ Never did I ever imagine that there would be a borehole at St James six months later.
Miracles do happen!