July 31, 2023

Oloile Primary: Fostering Unity through Clean Water

Oloile Primary School sits in the southern arid region of rural Kenya, with a school population of 480 students and a surrounding community of about 1,000 members. Previously, the school and the community have relied on a seasonal river for their water that is about 3km away. When the river would go dry, they would have no other option than to buy this scarce resource from vendors which proved hard and expensive for this low income generating community. The water generally consumed by the Oloile community was highly contaminated, being the cause for years of constant water borne illnesses, unhygienic practices and malnutrition amongst young kids, as well as low attendance in school. The narrative for this community has now taken a monumental shift “from lacking… to water filled and fulfilled” thanks to our partnership with the Chris Long Foundation’s Waterboys in the drilling of this new well. The new water system will serve as a catalyst for unity in the community, bringing people together to maintain and protect this water source, all the while hygiene is improving and regular attendance in school becomes the norm. This water means happier, healthier kids and a hopeful, productive community all together.

The narrative for this community has now taken a monumental shift “from lacking… to water filled and fulfilled” thanks to our partnership with the Chris Long Foundation's Waterboys in the drilling of this new well.

Oloile is home to the Maasai people of Kenya, where it’s customary for them to receive, feed, entertain and gift their guests. Feeling the excitement of having clean water in their community, the school organized a surprise ceremony to celebrate and honor Well Aware. In the hot Oloile sun, the community and school gathered under a huge acacia tree that provided shade to the gathering of about 700 people. The ceremony was graced with beautiful colors of Maasai attire, chanting, ullulations and Maasai songs that put emphasis on the value of clean water. Local leaders spoke on how this new water system will impact the general outlook and lifestyle of the community and the students performed skits on how lack of water had affected their studies. This beautiful community was so gracious in their hosting of our team and we were even gifted Maasai traditional regalia- gorgeous, intricate beaded jewelry- and the leaders crowned us as part of the Oloile community. In Oloile, we met lovely kids with the most beautiful smiles who now have more reasons to smile, supportive teachers and an amazing community, and we are certain the Ripple Effect of impact from clean water is going to change their lives.

This community, like many others we have worked with, was special to us, bringing the whole Well Aware team together to witness this life-changing system. This was the very first time the entire team- both the U.S. and Kenya teams– were together during implementation of a project. As a new water source was born, so was the bond between our team of 12, usually separated by thousands of miles but this time, brought together by the mission to provide clean water for more than deserving individuals. In these moments at the drill site, so many memories were made and so much growth was achieved. From riding in vans together through dusty roads on the way to the drill site, to sharing meals at a round table, to coordinating activities with the community and group training sessions, the cohesion and sense of unity of the team led to remarkable achievements during this project at Oloile.

At the drill site, a couple hundred yards from the Primary School, as the drilling rig lowered the rods and noise was all there was, our team was given a rhythm and motivation to accomplish a lot. Our team not only worked together in the drill monitoring, sample collection, infrastructural mapping, and data collection, but we also got to spend time with the students, teachers, and parents of this community, learning about their lives, hobbies, and aspirations for their community.

Not only was this experience so rewarding for the entire team, but this borehole turned out to be one of the highest yielding boreholes that Well Aware has implemented to date and we are so excited about how much impact the water will have on the community! Nothing brings us more joy as a team and a family than having a new narrative for a community and generations to come. We are so thankful for all the partners and donors that made this project a reality; seeing an entire community join together to celebrate a resource so valuable is something we will never forget.

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