When here in Uganda, our base of operations is a pretty cool little hotel near the airport. Easy for people to report for training and a comfortable place to stay staffed by great people, including RainCatcher’s Dennis.
One surprising source of inspiration and direction has been our room steward, Joseph. Though he also has a new church and ministry he runs, a wonderful wife and four young sons, Joseph spends very long days here at the hotel.
He may seem quiet and unassuming, but that demeanor masks an incredible strength and devotion to his village, his parish and his neighbors. Joseph asked about our projects the week we arrived. Since we left early each morning and returned, exhausted, at sunset it was easy for his training to be delayed.
We would schedule a time and something would come up for us or his shift would go long due to things like the frequent blackouts or generator issues. But, Joseph was not going to allow the long hours or chance to prevent him learning about the filters. At times we returned to find him waiting for us, ready to be trained, ready to bring life-saving systems to his village.
The night before we left the country, he patiently waited again. Now trained, focused on the idea of using schools as a starting point to help the most people, and with three filters in his bag, he went home and we left for Kenya. We didn’t give Joseph and his three filters another thought.
When we got back, though, he was like a magnet! We were transfixed by his energy. As he explained how he’d identified 21 schools, visited three of them and conducted training, he was glowing. He presented the list and gently, but firmly, described how we were (he was?) going to equip the remaining 18 schools. How could we refuse?
So, we gathered again, with his list, now officially referred to as the “JOSEPH – Clean-Water Project, Uganda” and provided enough filters and money to set up each school.
And he left with a bag containing enough gear to bring safe water to thousands of people.
We’ll conduct a larger training in his area soon and, because we’ll never again doubt Joseph’s conviction, we expect his vision of bringing the RainCatcher solution beyond the schools and into the surrounding villages to come to pass.
This will certainly require some addendum to the list and a new name for his project. Perhaps “JOSEPH – Today the schools. Tomorrow the World!”