I walked armed with huge sketched maps of the area marking all the water sources in the area, a Google maps aerial view for good measure, and blank paper for an action plan. As I walked, the rain started to pitter. Then flow more steadily, accompanied by doom-like thunder rolls. I kept walking, but silently wrote off the meeting. People just don’t move in the rain here. I unlocked the door, and waited, expecting nobody.
Miracles happen - look at the image above!
Members of our church had spent several months asking questions in the community: What issues do you care about? What needs change? The most pressing answer was water. Over a thousand people rely on one water source that becomes contaminated in the rainy season from groundwater flows, and dries up and flows slow in the ‘summer’ season. We invited community members we met along the way who were interested in action to come to this meeting, including local leaders. They came. There was a good buzz. I proposed we become a ‘community water committee’ to tackle the issue. The consensus was no. We need to be an organization! We need to elect a full executive committee, a chairperson, a vice, a secretary, a treasurer! We need a constitution!
In a groundswell of the positive energy triggered by new beginnings and a new gathering of people unexpectedly unhindered by rain and thunder, we rolled with it. I swallowed my skepticism about the restrictive bureaucracy involved in constitutions and executive committees and declared, “yes, and when we have new clean water sources, we can move on to tackle the next issue!” We will not be an NGO, we won’t have salaries, we don’t’ do handouts, or ‘income generating activities,’ but we will grow our collective power to create or demand solutions to local problems.
And that’s how Wakonye Kenwa Lacor was unexpectedly born. (Rough translation: "we help you amongst us.")
For more from Nick and Tessa in Uganda visit ugandapanda.com
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