This year hasn’t been the year that anyone anticipated. But, after 2020, I don’t think any of us knew what would follow. As it turns out, the past 12 months have brought similar and new challenges, and many of us are still trying to find our way back to something close to normalcy.
Despite the long and arduous journey, we’ve been inspired by the outpouring of support for the work of Well Aware. Even in the toughest part of last year, the passion for this cause yielded a wildly successful virtual gala, which launched our project work this year and built a momentum that has set a new trajectory for our water system work.
So planning for this month’s gala was no easy task. We weren’t sure what this important event would or should look like. In the year following a successful virtual gala, and understanding some health risk still remains, should we rinse and repeat? Would we even be able to meet in-person? Should we attempt hybrid? And the answers to these questions changed week to week.
But, we made a call. In-person it would be – cocktail dresses, our favorite people, live auctioneers, and all.
And, as I reflect on the evening just days later, I can say with certainty that it was the right call. Not just the right call – the decision to hold the gala with our fiercest supporters in the room, with our team from Kenya on stage, watching old friends embrace and new friends be made, it was the very best decision for our mission and values.
Not only did we hit our fundraising goals, we exceeded them. We watched as the compassion in the room inspired every guest to contribute, and we cheered with each new dollar that was raised, knowing that it will mean clean water for yet another person without.
The night was not only a triumph for our benefiting communities, it was also a renewal of our spirits and our determination.
Again, our annual Waterland Gala has created a strong foundation for the many water systems we need to complete next year, and years to follow that. I can’t help but think about Daraja, and Kitonyini, and Dago, and the many other communities whose lives will change because of the generosity and compassion in the room that night.
The Well Aware community knows not only how critical this work is, but also how carefully we plan and execute each and every water system. This fervent group of supporters, Board Members, Village members, friends, and family made celebrating 12 years of clean water at the gala an incredibly productive evening and an absolute joy.
Since we were in person this year, we realize there were quite a few of our Well Aware family who were not able to join us, but your presence and passion were felt in the room that night, and you still played a role in the event’s success.
The Winter Waterland would also not have been possible without each and every person who put in the hours, sweat, and (some) tears to make it the beautiful evening that it turned out to be. Thank you to the Well Aware team for devoting so much love and extra time to ensure an outstanding event. And, thank you to everyone reading this now – for all you do in the fight for clean water.
We loved celebrating with you, laughing with you, crying with you, and making clean water a reality for thousands of people in East Africa with you.
So much love and happy holidays to you all,
Sarah Evans & Kareece Sacco