By Pat KRAMER
If you were a woman or child living in northern Uganda, chances are that you would be walking two miles or more to the nearest well, every day, with a five-pound jerry can on your head weighing about 40 pounds when full. Sadly, this is the life in many parts of Africa today. Local residents Irene and Peter Keller, who are members of the Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club, are trying to help those in need with their third annual Walk For Water event on Saturday, March 25, which raises money to build and repair wells for villagers in rural Uganda.
At 9 a.m. on March 25, participants can register at Montrose Community Park, 3529 Clifton Place in Montrose, for the one-mile walk where each person will receive an empty jerry can to carry on their head. The group will then walk to Fire Station 29 where the cans will be filled with water for the return walk. Registration for this event is $25 and each recipient will receive a free T-Shirt for Aid Africa.
Sponsored this year by the Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club, Walk For Water is a fundraising event for Aid Africa, a non-profit founded by the late Ken Goyer who, the Kellers said, was always “doing good things for people.” After a trip to rural Uganda where Goyer saw villagers cooking in their smoke-filled grass huts with pieces of wood on top of rocks, he realized that he could build a more fuel-efficient cook stove using just bricks and clay. With cook stoves the leading cause of blindness in under-developed countries, Goyer’s invention of this simple stove greatly reduced smoke while also requiring less fuel. Today, Aid Africa provides these stoves for free to villagers in rural areas outside of Gulu, Uganda.
As board members of Aid Africa, the Kellers asked their Rotary Club to sponsor this event. The Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club, which meets weekly at the Oakmont Country Club, is a service organization that helps fund projects that make a difference in the local community and abroad.
The Walk For Water will fund three of Aid Africa’s projects currently ongoing in Uganda. The first is the repair of broken wells and the digging of new wells when there’s no clean drinking water near the villages. The second project builds fuel-efficient cooking stoves that are given to the poor to replace their open cooking fires. The third project is the cultivation and distribution of four free fruit trees to needy families from Aid Africa’s tree nursery in Uganda. The types of trees include mango, jack fruit, orange, avocado, custard apple and papaya.
Each year, the Walk For Water event in Montrose grows a little larger and this year Keller expects nearly twice as many people as last year.
“This event is something that families can do together. By participating in this event, everyone gets an idea of what it’s like for the women and children who have to carry the water they need every day from the closest well back to their village,” he said.
For more info about the organizations, visit http://www.aidafrica.net or http://www.glendalesunriserotary.org.