Recently our very own realtor Glenn Moore and his wife Wendy took part in a trip to Uganda and Kenya in support of The Water School, a Canadian non-profit organization founded in 2007 to provide simple, safe, sustainable clean water solutions to the developing world. The group implements solar disinfection through its integrated teaching program of health and hygiene, called Ray of Hope. Families are teaching families about the water cleaning process, and it's making a world of difference.
The following is an account by Glenn on his transformative trip to Africa:
We went to Africa two years ago when both our daughters were traveling in Uganda. Our youngest daughter was assisting in a children’s project. While there we realized the plight of the Africans regarding water. We witnessed the non-stop “water jug parade” where people of all ages at all times of day were traveling with huge gerry cans collecting water from questionable sources. Many didn’t know what diarrhea was because they always had the runs and thought it normal.
We met with the directors of The Water School (TWS) in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Upon returning to Canada, fundraising through the Red Deer Downtown Rotary Club brought in $195,000 from 19 individuals in 1 week, which allowed us to apply for and receive a $25,000 Wild Rose Alberta government grant, and a large Rotary International Foundation grant.
Since March 2009, people have been taught the water purification technique in the villages and remote rural areas of Kisoro, Uganda; three of us from Canada have been to inspect the project. It was a remarkable experience to see 350 healthy students attending school regularly as a result of the Sodis technique because they were no longer getting sick from contaminated water.
We left Uganda for neighboring Kenya to prepare for a group of 14 wealthy Internet domainers from around the world who came for a crash course in "philanthropy 101." TWS taught them water purification and hygiene techniques.
We were emotionally impacted by the effects of climate change on their lives. Up to 80% of the Masai’s cows are dying. For them, you cannot have a wife unless you have cows and if you have a lot of cows you can have many wives. With the shrinking of their herds, we heard stories of some Masai committing suicide. We encountered a dehydrated cow in distress while calving. One of the domainers - who has been named rancher of the year in Tasmania - insisted we stop so he could deliver the cow.
Seeing the good work Rotary Clubs, local churches and TWS are doing in Africa through this water sanitzation project as well as others like dental clinics, water well drilling projects, orphanage work, micro- credit loans and providing food to the hungry, was a very rewarding and life changing experience.
To see the tremendous needs and to know we are able to help in any small way is truly worth dedicating a portion of our lives to. Whether it's close to home, or elsewhere in the world, all Realtors can make a difference!