Poplar Bluff students raise money to build well in Kenya

By Christy Hendricks - email

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - You turn on your faucet every day and out comes clean, running water.  It's something many of us take for granted every day.

A group of Poplar Bluff students are working to help bring running water to people half a world away they've never met before.

When the students of Sacred Heart Catholic School heard about their priest's hometown of Naburereya in Kenya and how villagers must walk about four miles to get water from a spring, they wanted to help.

So they're raising money for one of the basic building blocks of life, a water well.
"In my village where I come from we have a scarcity of water and he have like a well which is kind of four miles away from our village," Father Kizito Wenani said.
Father Wenani grew up in a rural village in the western region of Kenya.
He and his 14 brothers and sisters spent much of their childhood fetching water.
"We would fetch in the morning before we go to school for the day in the morning. We wake up 5:30 so we walk for water then come use the water. Then go to school then when we come back from school we have to go again to fetch water," Father Wenani said.
Sometimes the women walk for water up to three times a day.
Father Wenani says 40-percent of the residents' time is spent fetching water.
Enter the Sacred Heart student council.
"They heard about how actually kind of hard it is over there so they thought it would be an excellent idea to put this into action," said Amy Walden, 8th Grade student council president.
They're planning car washes and asking for donations.
The goal is $40,000-$50,000 to build a well in the middle of the village, cutting the walking distance from four miles to less than one and bringing electricity to town.
"Most of the kids may just take water for granted, but in a given county in Africa or Asia, it's a very rare commodity," Father Wenani said.

The new well will help thousands of people, more than 600 families. It's a a big project for a school with a student body of little more than 200.

"It's wonderful because we've never done anything like this before," Walden said. "Just us 14 to 15 students, we've just done little things inside our school and now we can do something so big and it just feels really good."
And Father Wenani is keeping it a secret from his friends and family back home.
"Want it to be a surprise for them," he said. "Cause we have a saying in our country 'Don't count chicks before they hatch.'"
The student council is in the beginning stages of their fundraising efforts, but hope to raise enough to have the well built by next summer.
You can send donations to:
"Water for Kids"
123 N. 8th St.
Poplar Bluff, MO 63901
or call 573-778-5517.