Thursday, December 2, 2010

Drilling wells in Attiak

I'm writing to you from a closet, plugged into solar power at the Catholic Mission in Attiak, Uganda. Restore Water team (comprised of 6 students and a teacher) and I are here, in hot, dusty Attiak near the border with Sudan, drilling wells for Sister Rosemary. She's one of the most amazing people I've had the honor of knowing. (Click on her name to see a deeply moving CNN's Heroes video of her story). She's been a wonderful friend to John and I, and we live just down the road from her tailoring center that can be seen in the video.

Water4, (you should click on the video at that link) another incredible organization working to improve access to clean water around the world, came to Gulu in May last year with Adrian Peterson, Tommy Harris, Mark Clayton, Roy Williams, and friends with Pros for Africa. Water4 taught us a new system of inexpensively drilling wells, drilled the first well on our new land for Restore Academy, and donated a complete set of tools which we are continuing to use to bring clean water to friends and the local community.

The Pros also held a sports clinic with the students of Restore Academy, a day they won't soon forget! We joined the Pros, Water4, and Sister Rosemary for many of these joint activities which occurred during their trip last year. We're blessed to have such an amazing community, and look forward to their return next March!

Back to Attiak... I'm still sweating in the closet... I learned when I was first here in 2008 that you simply have to let yourself sweat and stink. I nearly drove myself crazy with anxiety at first, as sweating in the States usually means something is wrong (either the air conditioning isn’t working, or you’re wearing too many clothes!). I’m just getting ready to head back to the well, have to bring the guys some oil for the pulleys, but I wanted to pass along a little piece I wrote this morning:

The dust billowed forth as the pickup jostled along the potholed road to Attiak yesterday, pipes and poles bouncing along, red marking rag flapping in the wind. The Young Men Drilling Team of Restore Water, grinning with eagerness, made their way north to strike water once more.

The journey began eight months ago, as the men from Water4 made their way to Gulu and into our lives. A promising new chapter was opened that day, in this redemptive story being lived out in Northern Uganda. Years of war and unspeakable violence have beset this land and its people for decades, and yet hope shines forth in God's providence. You can see it in their faces, hear it in the laughter of children, feel it in the cool cleansing water pouring forth from this healing land.

I awoke this morning to the glimmer of the day’s first light, and the sound of the boys rustling on their dusty clothes. Without a thought of breakfast, we made our way to the drilling site. We stomped the tall grass, offered up prayer, and turned our heads heavenward as the tripod and our hopes rose to meet God’s glowing dawn sky.

We’re at 9 feet now, and the 5” auger has been pulling up full loads of yellow-brown clay. I wish you were with us to hear the squeaking of the pulleys, the clicking of the sailing winch, the laughter of the boys as they yell out “Telu! Telu!” (Pull! Pull!)


Franky said...

I enjoyed very much your writing and the photos included with it. It was a beautiful read/view. Thank you for taking the time in the sweaty closet to relay the story.

Blake said...

You bet Franks, thanks for reading! I hope you and the fam have a wonderful Christmas, greet Erin and Sierra for me~