Visit to a Well

Community-well-3.jpg

Our UNC Interns recently visited two community wells that our partner Divine Waters Uganda drilled. Read more about their experience.

Community well 2

We recently had the opportunity to visit two community wells drilled by Divine Waters Uganda.

At the first well, a lone woman named Monica filled her jerry can as our host, Daniel, showed us the fence used to keep animals away from the bottom of the drainage channel. Though it was getting a bit weedy, I was reminded that it was nowhere near as wild or dirty as the government-funded well sites.

“You should have told us you were coming,” Monica gently protested, slightly embarrassed as we trampled through the weeds. A normal day, however, is exactly what we came to see. We watched in amazement and awe as Monica hoisted a 20-liter jerry can onto her head, neck muscles bulging.

As we continued, we approached a clearing that stood in stark contrast to the weed-filled land from which we had just come. This new area had been completely stripped of vegetation and was framed by a beautifully manicured fence of Lantana flowers, all designed to house and protect the new community well.

A well keeper watches over the area to ensure that well-usage rules are followed at all times. In order to keep the well maintained and the community safe, community members have agreed on fines for everything from dirty jerry cans ($0.40 per can) to gossiping around the well (a $40 fine!).

All user fees and fines go directly into a bank account that is used for well maintenance and community member loans. One such loan was used by an entrepreneurial group seeking to purchase cooking supplies for their wedding catering business.

Gift of maize
Gift of maize

Though this tour impressed me and I left with an appreciation for our partnership, the most impactful moment of my day occurred as we were leaving. As Daniel and I were about to pull away, a woman ran up to our car with a gift of fresh corn from her garden. Even though we had told her that we wanted to buy some, she was happy to share it with us as community guests. The phrase “the kindness of strangers” will always call to mind my experience with this woman, who blessed me, a complete stranger, with a simple gift straight from her heart.