Inspired By Water Brunch with Salva Oct. 14 in Rochester

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Join us for brunch with Salva as we celebrate our 15th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 14 at La Luna Restaurant in Rochester, NY.

Inspired by Water celebrates 15 years of bringing clean, safe water to isolated villages in South Sudan. In a historic building with a terrace and waterfall view, the event features a delicious buffet, handcrafted African pieces and paintings by Rochester artist Steve Roe in the WFSS Marketplace, and live auction prizes including a private brunch with Salva at Mario's Homemade Pasta Kitchen, and a dinner with Salva at La Luna Restaurant.

Salva will visit each table at the event to personally offer his gratitude.

Salva will also present the 3rd annual Founder's Award to St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Rochester, and the 3rd annual Long Walk Award to WFSS Board member Angelique Stevens.

12:00 P.M.  Browse our WFSS Marketplace
1:00 P.M.    Brunch is served
1:30 P.M.    Founder's and Long Walk Awards & Live Auction

 

Why We IGC: An interview with the 2017-18 Winner, Pine Lake Prep Charter School

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As summer comes to a close, the fifth Iron Giraffe Challenge is ramping up with the new school year!

Each school taking on this challenge works to raise $1,000 for a chance to win a visit from Salva Dut! Since its beginning in 2014, over 500 schools have participated in the IGC. Here at WFSS we love to witness students so committed to helping others and to see the creative ways they fundraise.

With the IGC being one of our most-supported events and entries for this year’s challenge rolling in, we wanted to share the thoughts of a three-time IGC participant and our most recent IGC winner! I interviewed Natalie Goodwin of Pine Lake Prep Charter to see what has motivated her to fundraise with her seventh grade students for the past few years and to hear about their winning visit from Salva.

WFSS: Why did you first decide to participate in the Iron Giraffe Challenge? How did you learn of it?  

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Natalie: After reading the novel A Long Walk to Water for the first time several years ago, students voted unanimously to raise some funds to send to WFSS. The novel just lends itself to reaching out and giving back. Not knowing yet about the IGC, we did something on a very small scale and sent in a donation. So when the IGC was announced, or when we discovered it on the WFSS web page the next year, we were so excited! The IGC is tailored to schools; it gave us a structure to follow for giving back to WFSS and a goal to shoot for while competing against other schools! Students love a good competition!

WFSS: You participated in the Iron Giraffe Challenge for 3 years in a row and completed the IGC each year. What was your motivation and your students’ motivation for doing so?

Natalie: Each year, my students love the novel LWTW, and they love watching the videos and the TED talks of Salva. I always have a large bulletin board in my room with photos of South Sudan and Salva. It is very natural that they are motivated to want to help after reading and exploring this compelling story. I try to ensure that they feel like they are making the decision to take the IGC, and they are involved in the plans for our fundraisers. I don’t want them to feel like it is my vision or plan only. I want them to feel empowered!

WFSS: How did students react to meeting Salva after winning the 2017-18 IGC?

Natalie: Our students were immensely excited- more than I could have ever imagined. For many, I can truly say it was an experience they will never forget. They were inspired by his talk and by what he has overcome and done with his life. Students wanted to take photos with him and to hug him. After one of his talks in our auditorium, a student who has had some struggles at our school and who felt a connection with Salva came forward to the stage and asked to speak privately with him which he did.  It was very touching.

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WFSS: What has been the most inspiring part of fundraising with your students? 

Natalie: The most inspiring part has been watching my students each year come to understand life exists outside of their “bubble” and that humans are human no matter where they live or how much they have. Yet, everyone should have the right for fresh water and the benefits it brings. I teach seventh-graders, most of whom have not yet had that many experiences with putting the interests of others before themselves. So, it is inspiring to watch them do that, grow from the experience and want to help people on another continent. My hope is that participating in the IGC will influence them and lead them to becoming life-long global citizens who have an awareness and a genuine interest in helping others in need around the world.


"My hope is that participating in the IGC will influence them and lead them to becoming life-long global citizens who have an awareness and a genuine interest in helping others in need around the world."


WFSS: What would you say to a teacher considering participating in the Iron Giraffe Challenge? Do you have any advice for them?

Natalie: I would say “go for it” of course!

WFSS, the novel LWTW, and the IGC all make it easy for teachers to participate with their classes or their schools. I would say it’s okay to start small- but just start. I have told my students in the past that even if we don’t raise the set amount or we don’t win the contest, we have still done a great thing-no matter how small- to change the world!

For the past three years, only classes of seventh graders have entered the IGC, so again we started small, but now we have a history with WFSS and the IGC and I am appealing to our entire K-12 school to get on board this year with the fundraising. Now, we are moving ahead to the next step and our goal is to raise money for an entire well through WFSS. So it can be hard in the beginning to get others on board who don’t yet know the story and about WFSS. Winning the challenge helped us to educate others at our school about this amazing non-profit WFSS.


Thank you to Natalie for taking the time to speak with us and thank you to everyone at Pine Lake Prep Charter School for their support! We can’t wait to see who our next winner of the IGC is in April 2019!

Notes from South Sudan: Serving Schools

The following is the third in a series of blog posts, entitled "Notes from South Sudan", by Lynn Malooly, Executive Director of Water for South Sudan. She and several other WFSS team members traveled to South Sudan in Spring, 2018. Look for more stories in the coming months.

 zogolona school students give a warm welcome to wfss team

zogolona school students give a warm welcome to wfss team

A highlight in our visit to Wau, also home to the WFSS Operations Center, was our visit to the Zogolona Primary School, serving approximately 800 students in grades one through eight. The WFSS Board approved a sanitation project as part of our 2014-17 “Watering the Seeds of Change” Capital Campaign. After much research, Zogolona was chosen as the recipient of our pilot school latrine project. The initial step required bringing water to the school, and WFSS installed the first well of the 2017-18 season at the school in December. Ground-breaking for the latrine began in January and is expected to be completed at the end of May.

 8th grade students hope to be able to continue their studies in high school

8th grade students hope to be able to continue their studies in high school

We enjoyed a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the entire school community, along with visiting dignitaries from the local government. Witnessing the streams of children coming out to meet us was so moving. Knowing that these students now have access to water during their school day warmed out hearts and helped us see the real impact of our work.  

Garang John, the deputy principal shared his thoughts, and enthusiasm for our work. “We can now eat the sweet fruit of water which is life itself.  WFSS has done a great job. Keep up the spirit of what you have done. You will be in the history of Zogolona Primary School.  The community will stand strongly for fundraising to support the latrine for the future.”

 

 the Finished latrine building was handed over to the school in june

the Finished latrine building was handed over to the school in june

The state of Zogolona school, like most in South Sudan, is in need of improvement. Small classrooms in the very basic, hand-built buildings are filled to over-flowing, and some classes even meet “under the trees.” Access to a latrine will change the educational experience for every student. Most schools in South Sudan do not have latrines. When students need to relieve themselves they walk up to 30 minutes away to find a private place. The new latrine will eliminate that absence from learning, and especially enable girls to stay in school.

After additional meetings in Wau, we would be heading out into the field, away from civilization, and into the heart of South Sudan to meet the people we serve in the remote villages.

Read previous posts in this series: World Water Day in Juba and Coming Home to Wau.

 

Our New "Iron Giraffe": WFSS Finalizes Drilling Rig Purchase

Funding a new “Iron Giraffe” to replace our tired drilling rig was at the forefront of WFSS’s Watering the Seeds of Change Capital Campaign, which raised $1.2 million for the drilling rig and other needed vehicles and drilling equipment and for technical training for our staff in South Sudan. The estimated cost of the drilling rig was $500,000. Through the Iron Giraffe Challenge, students across the world raised $511,166 for the new drilling rig – an astounding 42 percent of all campaign funds.

With the funding secured, WFSS’s operations team began their due diligence to find the drilling rig best suited to our needs at the best cost. The team worked tirelessly – working with our drilling team to pinpoint what is needed in a new rig, attending conferences to learn about the latest technology, and talking with drilling rig manufacturers about specs. PAT-drill was ultimately chosen as the vendor.

 Meet our new “Iron Giraffe” – the PAT-drill 501.

Meet our new “Iron Giraffe” – the PAT-drill 501.

Promotion of appropriate technology (PAT) is PAT-drill’s mission. They were very knowledgeable about the environment and conditions in South Sudan and were able to offer great advice on what is working best for their other clients drilling in South Sudan. PAT-drill designs and builds their rigs in Bankok, Thailand. They have a sales and service office in South Sudan where our team will have access to technical support. PAT-drill keeps their equipment lightweight – making it cheaper to buy, easier to transport, and less costly to operate.

As a result of the operations team’s rigorous process of identifying and choosing a vendor we came in way under the anticipated $500,000 budget. We are actually purchasing two drilling rigs at a cost of just under $400,000! We have ordered a large rig mounted on a truck, our new “Iron Giraffe,” and a smaller rig mounted on a trailer. The small rig will be used as back up for the large rig and for training our staff–The additional money raised for the rig will purchase vehicles needed for our new rehabilitation team, launched in 2017.

Salva, the Board of Directors, and our teams in the U.S. and South Sudan are grateful to everyone who contributed to the capital campaign, especially all of the teachers and students who worked so hard to help us to fund a new “Iron Giraffe.” You are making a difference to people in isolated villages who without a well would not have safe water.

Notes from South Sudan: Coming Home to Wau

 Board president glenn M. Balch, jr., lynn malooly, salva dut and board member anne turner

Board president glenn M. Balch, jr., lynn malooly, salva dut and board member anne turner

The following is the second in a series of blog posts, entitled "Notes from South Sudan", by Lynn Malooly (left), Executive Director of Water for South Sudan. She and several other WFSS team members traveled to South Sudan in March 2018. Look for more stories from her in the coming months.

After a few days in the capital city of Juba we flew to Wau, the second largest city in South Sudan, and our travels took us deeper into the country.  With a population of about 150,000, Wau was unlike any city I had ever seen. Many residents live in simple mud and grass huts. The main roads are dirt and as we drove we navigated around pot holes, cows, goats, and people. People walk everywhere, and a lucky few get around by bicycle. Our local team met us at the airport and faces came alive as I met, in person for the first time, some of our local managers. We were also met with the heat. Salva reminded us over and over to wear our hats and stay hydrated. He told us that we needed to sweat—it was our bodies’ way to keep cool, and stave off heatstroke. And so we sweated… all the time.  Water bottles became our constant companions.

 WFSS cooks Alic and Becky in their soon to be old kitchen.

WFSS cooks Alic and Becky in their soon to be old kitchen.

We came home to the WFSS compound in Wau, the heart of our work in South Sudan and were delighted to meet more of our team. The compound was a busy scene, filled with vehicles, equipment and team members, including the compound dog, Blessing. We sat down to the first of many home-cooked meals, all served outside.

We were impressed with the hard work of the entire WFSS team, but especially our cooks. The women toil every day, making breakfast, lunch and dinner for all of our team members. A small shack serves as their kitchen where they prepare meals, which they then cook outside over charcoal and wood fires on the ground. When we expressed our admiration, Salva told us that when there is a job opening, often 100 women will line up outside our compound. WFSS is a very desirable job opportunity, especially for women. Those of us who have the luxury of cooking in the US urged our team to move the construction of a simple new kitchen to a high priority item.

While there, US Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok assisted the team as they brought our first drilling rig back online. This small rig can now be used as back-up, for local drilling, and as a training rig for team members ready to learn and grow. We witnessed the administrative work of our team, working in small offices, with just ceiling fans to move the hot air around. We also experienced the internet in South Sudan—a miracle that it’s there, and certainly not the lightning speed we were used to back home.

We spent four days in the compound, including numerous meetings under the shade of trees in the 100+ degree heat, reviewing operations and job descriptions, and planning for the future.

 WFSS compound at sunset

WFSS compound at sunset

 country directors aj and lion with operations support coordinator gary prok

country directors aj and lion with operations support coordinator gary prok

Next up, we would travel into the field, to witness the work of WFSS.

WFSS Completes 2017-18 Season

WFSS is pleased to announce the completion of another successful season!

 Well drilled in Lol-Kou village in Aweil State

Well drilled in Lol-Kou village in Aweil State

Thank you to our team in South Sudan, and our donors around the world who support our work. Together, we are transforming lives in South Sudan, and helping to build a more sustainable future.

Our staff in South Sudan continues to grow, accomplishing more and positioning WFSS as a local leader in delivering WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) services. WFSS Country Directors Ater Akol “Lion” Thiep and Ajang “AJ” Agok managed another successful season with 40 new wells drilled; 28 older wells rehabilitated; hygiene education in 68 villages; and, the completion of our first-ever sanitation project.

 The DR-150 has been drilling since 2008.

The DR-150 has been drilling since 2008.

This season’s new wells were drilled using our 10 year-old DR-150 rig in Wau, Aweil and Aweil East States. The team accomplished this goal with the help of the rehab team, which functioned as a platform team. After a well was drilled, this freed up the drilling team to travel to the next location and continue drilling.

WFSS is in the process of purchasing its new drilling rig, aka “Iron Giraffe.” Read more here.

 

 Marko and Bantino received hygiene training in Majok Kuel village in Aweil State.

Marko and Bantino received hygiene training in Majok Kuel village in Aweil State.

TRANSFORMING LIVES, ONE VILLAGE AT A TIME

Mayiik Bol is a 32-year-old physically challenged man who lives in Yargot County, Aweil East State. He has five children, two of whom are also physically challenged. Mayiik is grateful to WFSS for helping his family and neighbors access safe clean drinking water. “After Water for South Sudan drilled a well, we can access water nearby. Family life has changed for the better as our water needs were resolved by availability of water.”

Deborah Awieu Deng said WFSS helped provide her family with safe clean drinking water. “Before the WFSS team came, life was so bad because we collected water from unprotected sources. This water was prone to causing diarrhea and typhoid. Distance to water sources was so long, sometimes you may fail to get water on time, which could result in sleeping without food and even without taking a bath. Our cattle were suffering with us too, because where we reach water was a two-three hours’ walk on foot. Some cattle got lost on the way back home because hyenas attacked them on the way.”

She thanks Water for South Sudan for coming to their rescue by providing safe clean drinking water. “The life of our livestock now is now more secure, and the WFSS hygiene team has played an important role in preventing water borne diseases.”

HYGIENE EDUCATION IMPROVES LIVES

Two WFSS Hygiene teams, overseen by WFSS Hygiene Manager Mathew Akuar Akuar, completed hygiene education in 68 villages- training eight people in each village that received a new well or rehabbed well.  The teams share information on how germs are spread, and instruct villagers in how to keep wells and jerry cans clean, helping to maximize the impact of clean water.

Mathiang Deng Mawiir noted how WFSS hygiene training is improving lives. “They helped me in how I should maintain my well, and helped me and my community with good hygiene practices. WFSS gave me sanitation knowledge where my main source of water will only be our new well, and safe disposal of feces. The WFSS hygiene team has played an important role in preventing water borne diseases. I would like to thank WFSS for a job well done.”

WFSS COMPLETES PILOT SANITATION PROJECT

 The Zogolona School community welcomed the opening of the new latrine.

The Zogolona School community welcomed the opening of the new latrine.

After careful assessment, the Zogolona Primary School in Wau was chosen as our site. The WFSS drilling team installed the first well of the 2017-18 season at the Zogolona School. Following this, the World Food Programme agreed to provide one meal a day for the 800 students at the school, providing essential nutrition for growing children.

WFSS broke ground on a latrine project in January. The project was managed by WFSS Country Director Ajang Agok, with guidance and oversight by US Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok, and WFSS Board member Sue Coia. The US team received regular updates and photos of the project, assisting as needed as the construction progressed.

 Finished latrine building at zogolona school in wau.

Finished latrine building at zogolona school in wau.

The WFSS US Board and staff team visited in March and observed the project in progress, and met with school officials and local government officials, all of whom expressed deep gratitude for the project.  "We are grateful and give thanks to government and WFSS for your hard work," said Deputy Principal Garang John. "We wish you a safe journey back. We can now eat the sweet fruit of water which is life itself.  WFSS has done a great job. Keep up the spirit of what you have done. You will be in the history of Zogolona Primary School.  The community will stand strongly for fundraising to support the latrine for the future."

 

The project was completed in June, and the latrine was officially handed over to the school. WFSS will carefully monitor the school's upkeep and maintenance of the project to ensure they stay in compliance with the memorandum of understanding that the school signed with WFSS agreement. WFSS Country Director Ajang is optimistic about the future success of the latrine project. 

"This community is committed," says AJ. "They are so grateful for this latrine and will make sure it is sustainable into the future. Zogolona will qualify for more latrines if they sustain this one well."

WFSS US TEAM VISITS SOUTH SUDAN            

A US team of staff and board members visited South Sudan this spring to meet with government and NGO representatives, visit our team in Wau, and also traveled to the field to witness well drilling firsthand. Read Executive Director Lynn Malooly’s blog posts here.

 

 Board member anne turner, salva dut, executive director lynn malooly, board president glenn m. balch, jr., country director aj agok in juba.

Board member anne turner, salva dut, executive director lynn malooly, board president glenn m. balch, jr., country director aj agok in juba.

 

 

WE COULDN’T DO IT WITHOUT YOU!

Thank you to our contributors in all 50 US states and 49 other countries for enabling our work! With your help we are watering the seeds of change and transforming lives in South Sudan. We are already planning for the 2018-19 season and ask for your help in strengthening communities in South Sudan. There is so much we can do with your support.  Thank you.

More Access to Clean Water, Sanitation & Hygiene!

The 2018 season is nearing its close as the rainy season has begun in South Sudan. Our drilling, rehab and hygiene teams are still able to drill and repair wells as they make their way back to our Operations Center in Wau.

 Villagers in Wut-Nyap Village in Aweil East celebrate their new well.

Villagers in Wut-Nyap Village in Aweil East celebrate their new well.

As of May 15, 36 new wells have been drilled, and the team is still aiming for their goal of 44 new wells. Our rehab team has been able to repair 21 of our older wells, and is on pace to repair 25.

Both drilling and rehab teams are accompanied by their own hygiene team. So far this season, 57 villages have received hygiene training.

This season we also introduced a pilot sanitation project at Zogolona School in Wau. We look forward to sharing photos and stories from the students and school community, and hearing about the impact of this exciting development. We will also provide hygiene education to the school, which includes training on maintaining the new latrines.

The work never stops at WFSS: even as the season is winding down our Leadership Council in South Sudan is planning for the 2018-19 season by arranging for training, special projects, and maintenance.

 Happy students from zogolona primary school

Happy students from zogolona primary school

 Students at Zogolona Primary School in Wau, site of a new WFSS well and new latrines being constructed.

Students at Zogolona Primary School in Wau, site of a new WFSS well and new latrines being constructed.

Notes from South Sudan: World Water Day in Juba

 Glenn, Lynn, and Anne with university students in Juba, South Sudan.

Glenn, Lynn, and Anne with university students in Juba, South Sudan.

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The following is a first in a series of blog posts, entitled "Notes from South Sudan", by Lynn Malooly (left), Executive Director of Water for South Sudan. She and several other WFSS team members traveled to South Sudan in March 2018. Look for more stories from her in the coming months.


I have had the honor of working at Water for South Sudan for the past eight years. In that time, I handled hundreds of photos from our work and always loved seeing photos of wells, and those who use them. I saw photos of people, village and landscapes, and our team drilling and repairing wells. But all that I saw was two-dimensional.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I have seen hundreds of pictures of our work in South Sudan and have been so moved by the dramatic images. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing South Sudan in person is nothing short of life-changing.

When I traveled to South Sudan this past March our work, and people, became fully three-dimensional for me. I was able to experience the sights, sounds, smells and sun-soaked heat of South Sudan. Our mission came alive for me.

 Munuki Rotary Club

Munuki Rotary Club

Our trip began with a three-hour drive from Rochester to Toronto before our 12 ½ hour flight to Addis Ababa. Our traveling crew included WFSS Board President Glenn M. Balch, Jr., Board member Anne Turner, and Operations Support Coordinator Gary Prok. Once in Addis Ababa we had time for an Ethiopian coffee in the airport before another short flight to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. We walked off the plane and were met a short distance away by WFSS Founder Salva Dut. We were interviewed by a local TV station and we shared our excitement about being in South Sudan. We talked about our work and outline for our visit, including plans to see a well being drilled.

In Juba, we attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Munuki, held in an open air hut, and heard about their work – offering scholarships, assisting with Hepatitis B vaccinations, and planting trees. They are also looking at a borehole project near Juba. Glenn, a life-long Rotarian and past District Governor, shared his enthusiasm and support for their projects.

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They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I have seen hundreds of pictures of our work in South Sudan and have been so moved by the dramatic images. But if a picture is worth a thousand words, then seeing South Sudan in person is nothing short of life-changing.


We had the happy occasion to celebrate World Water Day in Juba on March 22. Our day started at the Tulip Inn in Juba, where we met local university students, all sporting their new WFSS t-shirts. They told us of their studies, including computer science and agriculture studies, and future plans. Their dedication and enthusiasm inspired us and was very encouraging for the future of South Sudan.

The celebration for World Water Day, and National Nile Day, took place at the Nyakuron Cultural Center. Local government officials and ministers spoke on the importance of water, and several elementary school students also spoke. The students asked a few water-themed riddles, including: “I come from the family of water, but if I go back to water I die.  Who am I?” This one completely stumped the audience (see answer below).

Glenn and I were invited to say a few words on our work and thanked everyone for their attention to the issue of access to clean water. We were invited to be in many photos to mark the day.

The Juba portion of our trip was eye-opening and energizing. We would soon leave the comforts of our hotel and travel deeper into the country, to meet our team and see the work we do.

 


Answer to riddle: Ice!

Water for South Sudan and Alternative Gifts International Continue Partnership

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Water for South Sudan (WFSS) will once again be featured in Alternative Gifts International’s (AGI) annual catalog. This is the eighth year that WFSS has been featured. To date, this alliance has brought WFSS over $300,000 – enough to drill 20 wells. Twenty wells means 1,553,000 liters of water per day serving 13,000 people in isolated villages.

“We love AGI and our partnership. Many, many people who might never have learned about our work are finding us and donating through AGI. There is a great synergy between the two nonprofit organizations,” said WFSS Director of Development Cindy DeCarolis. 

We are grateful to all of the donors who found their way to us through AGI, and to the staff at AGI for continuing this extraordinary partnership.
 

Super Supporter of the Month: Medtronic Neurovascular

 Villagers in Parot Aker village in South Sudan where Medtronic Neurovascular's first well was drilled this year.

Villagers in Parot Aker village in South Sudan where Medtronic Neurovascular's first well was drilled this year.

When John Zehren’s wife came home from a school event talking about the book A Long Walk to Water he instantly wanted to read the book. Inspired by Salva’s story, John shared it with one of his trainers, Michelle Malinowski, who had just returned from a medical mission.

John, who is Vice President of Sales at Medtronic Neurovascular, and Michelle, who is a Field Education Consultant, conceived the idea of live streaming Salva into their National Sales meeting. Following Salva’s live stream presentation an astonishing $18,000 was raised in 20 minutes from Medtronic’s field representatives.

Medtronic’s Mission in Motion for global outreach programs sponsors initiatives that support the community and also help to ensure sustainable solutions to key societal challenges.


“Providing a platform where we can do something bigger than us, and with a global perspective, is pretty great. It also aligns with our values as Medtronic employees and our global outreach efforts,” John commented.  


Medtronic Neurovascular sponsored a well that was drilled during the 2018 season in the Parot Aker village in South Sudan, and they are well on their way to funding a second well. To date, Medtronic’s employees have collectively donated more than $28,000. “Everyone should have access to clean water. We are so fortunate here in America,” said John.

“Corporate partnerships are a win-win; they strengthen our overall fundraising program and give employees a meaningful way to make a global impact,” said WFSS Director of Development Cindy DeCarolis. "This partnership with Medtronic has been very fortunate, and has allowed us to do great work in South Sudan."

Water for South Sudan is so grateful to John, Michelle, and the dozens of Medtronic employees and friends who have donated to make clean water a reality for the people of Parot Aker village in South Sudan.

Season Winding Down as Rainy Season Approaches

 community members in Mabil village in aweil east state celebrate a new well

community members in Mabil village in aweil east state celebrate a new well

The WFSS teams have had a successful season, and are now beginning to wind down as the rainy season approaches.

To date, the drilling team has drilled 36 new wells, and is on target to hit its goal of 44 new wells. The rehabilitation team has repaired 19 of our older wells, and is also on target, planning to repair 25 older wells. Our two hygiene teams have traveled with the drilling and rehab teams, helping communities improve hygiene practices. 

All of the teams are making their way back to our Operations Center in Wau, and will be able to continue their work as they travel. As the rainy season begins, the roads we use will soon become impassable.

We are looking forward to sharing updates on our almost-completed school sanitation project in Wau, where we are installing latrines at the Zogolona Primary School.

Thanks to our supporters around the world for supporting our work and helping to improve the lives of those we serve as we help to develop communities in South Sudan.

Water is Sacred and Holy in South Sudan

The following essay was written by WFSS Compound Manager Abraham Majur.

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Since time in memorial, South Sudanese beliefs, norms, and values have considered water to be sacred. A "water point" as referred to in this narrative includes: pools, rivers, hand pumps/boreholes, hand dug wells, swamp, and lakes, among others.

Holiness of Water Points and Water

The South Sudanese Dinka traditionalists believe that God resides around water points, and that water is “god.” Water has a spirit that can curse people if evil things are done at Water Points. In earlier days, Dinka elders advised young people to avoid going to rivers, swamps, pools, hand pumps/hand dug wells at late hours of the night and early mornings. Elders told that late at night, the spirits and ghosts gather along river and in swamps at those hours.

This perception has protected water points for a long time in South Sudan, even during the two wars of Sudan.

When Dinkas are making their traditional sacrifices to their “gods” the Spearmasters or Sectional/Clan elders first give water to animals to be sacrificed. The notion is that the animal will urinate and there would be enough blood. They consider this as a sign of acceptance of their sacrifice by their “gods” and ancestors. During sacrifices amongst Dinkas when animal meat is consumed, clan elders would spray young people and clan members with water, which they believe it has blessing for their “gods” and ancestors.According to the Dinka tradition, you cannot kill anything while drinking at a water point, be it wild or domestic animals/birds. Even at points of conflict, a defected enemy would not be denied access to a water point or killed while drinking. Killing enemies while they’re drinking water is believed to attract a curse on the doer and his family in present and future. 

Traditions and Stories About Water Points

There are a good number of tribes and sections of Dinka clans who sacrifice for sacred Water Points, usually to rivers and other specific Water Points in their respective localities. For example, in Yirol East, currently part of Eastern Lakes State, a section called Dhiem of Ador offers sacrifices to Lake Shambe and Ajiek sacrifices to River Payii. There are many others but those are a few examples.

 From left to right: Abraham (author), and Associate Country Directors  AJ  and  A ter

From left to right: Abraham (author), and Associate Country Directors AJ and Ater

Water for South Sudan's Wells

WFSS has drilled over 300 wells, and none of the wells have been reported vandalized or destroyed by any parties (government or rebel forces).

We are assured of the protection of the wells by users and local authorities in those respective areas.

In this regard our donors and supporters should know that their efforts, talents, resources, and time are not at waste but in service of local communities in South Sudan who have been disadvantaged by two wars of Sudan for years and current conflict.