Providing clean water in Ghana: priceless

Borehole in Amansie West, Ghana

Villagers gather to celebrate a borehole in Diani, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes

By Walter Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA

Have you ever questioned if your involvement in Rotary is really making a difference?

Rest assured, you are, and I’m the lucky guy who gets to witness and experience your involvement. I’m passionate about bringing clean water to remote villages in the African bush of Ghana.

Ghana well

Jon Morris and Walter Hughes, members of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA, at a new pump in Ghana.

There are two priceless moments that happen when we provide clean water to a village. The first occurs when that big drill rig finally hits water. Imagine the people’s anticipation as they see the trucks and equipment roll into the village and as they watch the drill rig crew work. Everyone cheers when the water flows.

The second priceless moment comes when the hand pump is installed. People throughout the village come to the well with their buckets and cups in hand. Everyone is silent as one of the elders starts pumping the handle. Cheers erupt when the water comes forth. Seeing the smiling faces of the men, women and children make all of the challenges worth it.

I’ve got to see some pretty amazing things and travel to very remote villages. I’ve been there during the dry and the rainy season. I’ve traveled through corn and millet fields, washed out roads, walked for miles in the hot African sun to see the work of Rotarians from around the world in Ghana. A recent trip brought me to a village, two hours from the nearest city called Domeabra, which means, “You’ve got to love me to come this far!”

One of the most amazing things to happen in Ghana is the recent eradication of Guinea Worm Disease, which is spread because of dirty water. Rotarians played a big role. We are now focusing on a neglected tropical flesh eating disease called “Buruli Ulcer.” The mode of transmission is still unknown but it is found in water and the soil of muddy swamps, rivers and rice fields. We believe that new wells will reduce the disease because the need to fetch dirty water from those sources will diminish.  

I can’t describe how amazing this journey has been. I’ve been fortunate to see firsthand how your support changes people’s lives. What makes Rotary so amazing is that we’ve partnered with over eighty clubs from the U.S., Canada, and Switzerland. Three host clubs in Ghana are leading the effort: Sunyani Central, Tamale and Bolgatanga Goodwill. 

I was recently able to take my wife, Susan, and daughter and future Rotarian, Missy Hughes, with me this past January. They were impressed that so many Rotarians from around the world care about the Ghanaian people. They got to experience how goodwill and better friendships have been created, and how clean water is beneficial to all concerned. Your support is making a difference and changing lives!

6 thoughts on “Providing clean water in Ghana: priceless

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