Many people in the locality seem to have heard of our "Wishing for a Well" Appeal but are not sure what it does or how it operates. Fate ordained that we were meant to help where we could our friends in Akamba land in N.E. Kenya. It originated from a letter from one, Wilson Kitheka Mukura, in 1986 which had been posted to an address which Bryan Cooper had had some 30 years previously. The contents of the letter were sad. The drought had hit him and is family severely and they were in a poor way. After checking with the Kenya High Commission we sent a little financial help but this was followed by our initial and somewhat hazardous visit to a place called Twimyua (where very few white men and certainly no white lady) had trod before. We could see the need for water catchment when it did rain in the way of dams but unfortunately the building of these was beyond our own resources.
We thus formed our Wishing for a Well Appeal Fund which started in a small way by fund raising events and private donations. From money raised we started dam building on rock catchment sites. We have built nine to date and these hold water for 6-8 months from the rains that normally arrive in about November. Sometimes they are topped up by lighter rain falls in April. However, our aim was to try and maintain an all year round supply and because over the last two/three years we have been fortunate with donations from Associations such as Rotary Clubs, Inner Wheel, and Water Aid Trust Funds from various sources, we have now constructed two wells with, hopefully, another one or two in the millenium year. These are the answer to a clean water supply but the siting of them has to be carefully chosen and we have enlisted the aid of site engineers from A.M.R.E.F. who are experienced in this field of water aid. The catchment dams we have built have been very successful and have made a tremendous difference to the locality and certainly to the poor ladies who, with the help of donkeys, are the main beasts of burden.
We were financially supported greatly by the people on the Island of Guernsey in the construction of the two dams. The dams will hold approximately 180,000 gallons of water when full. They were situated in remote village areas where people normally have to walk for more than 5 to 20km to fetch water from the dried up river beds where they have to dig holes down to 10ft-20ft to collect water. This is then carried by donkeys in 2 or 4 drums. There are no vehicles in this part of Akamba country.
Yet again, we were able to take a considerable amount of children's clothes which were given by the ladies of St. John's Church in Yeovil and these were distributed at a Church Service in Twimyua. We also purchased medical supplies from Howes & McGeorge, a pharmaceutical company in Nairobi who kindly added their own gift to our supplies. These were given to two Bush Clinics along with medical equipment donated by Doctors Keith Beattie and Dr. James Buckle of Martock and South Petherton Surgeries and also our daughter, Dr. Anita Cooper who donated plasma. Medicines in general are in very short supply in the Bush Clinics and all the gifts are very gratefully received.
Bryan Cooper is happy to give talk/slide shows to any Clubs
His address is:
Bryan Cooper, Brymar, Hayes End Road, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13 5AG.
Telephone & Facsimile 01460 242361
Norton-sub-Hamdon TA14 6SI
Tel. 01 035 881519
web site: www.akambaaidfund.org www.
Akamba Aid is a registered charity, no.1983554, so donations can reclaim income tax.