In 2001 after several short-term mission trips, 14 people from Washington and Oregon created a medical missions team to help war torn Uganda. A rebel army had abducted many of their children and destroyed their village. This had been going on for the past 17 years. Spending a month of their own time, the volunteers helped by setting up temporary clinics in the outlying Lango villages out in the bush areas. It quickly became obvious that people were suffering from diseases that were preventable with some modern water purifying measures.
The lack of clean water was a very large contributing factor to their health situation. Although there were many springs of water freely flowing from the ground, it was contaminated. The water collected in pools where animals would stand, drink and defecate. The team quickly realized how important it was to teach the people how to provide fresh water for their families health benefits.
Gathering their funds together, the team constructed the first protected spring in Anyangapuc. This concrete structure had a pipe that allowed the water to flow freely without contamination to the people of the village. Now, thousands of people could enjoy fresh water on a daily basis.
The volunteers returned home and fund raisers were begun to ensure that more villages in the war torn country could enjoy the fresh water wells. The following year a smaller group of volunteers boarded planes from their various homes and converged on
In the year 2003 a rebel raid upon Anyangapuc killed 52 members of the village. Hundreds of villagers fled their homes to a nearby town. One of those families was headed up by none other than Felix Omodi. Felix had worked with the team in 2001 and lost 12 members of his family. Refusing to let the rebels win, Felix took in nearly 100 people and let them stay in his own home.
Felix was able to let Carolyn Kurowski, one of the volunteers he had worked with in 2001, know what had happened and in short order Hands Across Nations had set up a non provide 501C3 under the National Heritage Foundation. Although response was slow and sporadic they did manage to assist with helping Felix with food, clothing and tools to plant gardens. But, it didn’t stop there.
Carolyn knew how important the water situation was so she strived to make it happen and assist the villages with providing fresh water for their villagers. Fund raisers were begun in Carolyn’s local church and in the surrounding area. In time, this expanded and more and more people jumped on board to lend their assistance to the projects.
Today, Hands Across Nations goes to Africa on a regular basis. They take donated supplies to assist the villagers in protecting their drinking water and extend these measures to surrounding areas that are in need of fresh drinking water.
Many hands make light work and the volunteers are teaching villagers how to care for themselves and how to be resourceful with what they have on hand. As Jason Hope says, “The rewards are beyond measure to your soul.”