``Wishing for a Well Appeal Fund''

Origins

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.

The Fund

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.

Additional Projects

We would add that, along with our water aid, we have also been able to take medical supplies which have been kindly donated, along with educational materials for schools and, where we find a great need, we buy goats, maize and beans. However, our main aim now is to provide wells if finances allow and with this in mind we continue fund raising and publicising our Wishing for a Well Appeal. We know there are many charities all asking for help and ours is only a tiny drop in the ocean but we can tell people that every penny donated goes directly to the cause of our Water for Life projects and the general improvement of this little area of the world where aid is so much needed and appreciated.

Report on 1999 Mission

Thanks to all our supporters yet another "Water for Life" mission was successfully completed, with Walter Matthews, of Longburton, Sherborne, and Bryan Cooper returning from North East Kenya on 5th October 1999, after arranging construction of two further earth catchment dams at Katingula and Kwa- Mala plus de-silting and enlarging three other dams at Kandongo and Twimyua. The work on this Mission No. 8 took approximately six weeks. Since 1989 when we started our "Water for Life" projects we found this visit our most distressing because the lack of rain over the past twelve months has left the Akamba tribal people with a serious famine with animals hungry and dying because of lack of food. Fortunately our Appeal Fund had received several donations from supporters in the villages of Norton sub Hamdon, Chiselborough, West and Mid Chinnock, and the South Petherton areas for the purpose of purchasing food for these people and to them we offer our heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Akamba tribe. We hold photographs we took of the distribution of maize and beans which is their staple diet. Because of the financial position Kenya finds itself in today, life saving distribution of food for the people in these very and areas is far from sufficient to fill their needs. We witnessed on several occasions the Government officials giving out 2kg. of maize for each family. This is only distributed every two weeks in the famine period and 2kg. is only enough to feed a family of eight people for one meal! How lucky we are to be living in England.

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.

The Future

God willing and subject to raising sufficient funds from now until August 2000, we hope to construct and provide pumps for two deep wells that will bring forth beautifully clean water for drinking. We have surveyed three possible sites on this last visit. The two wells we constructed in 1997 and 1998 at Mukameni and Mandumba are operating excellently and bring forth clean water for hundreds of people.

Bryan Cooper is happy to give talk/slide shows to any Clubs or Associations.
His address is:
Bryan Cooper, Brymar, Hayes End Road, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13 5AG.
Telephone & Facsimile 01460 242361

Wishing for a Well has now amalgamated with Akamba Aid

address: Broadshard, Norton-sub-Hamdon TA14 6SI Tel. 01 035 881519
E-mail akambaaid.fund@btinternet.com
web site: www.akambaaidfund.org www.

Akamba Aid is a registered charity, no.1983554, so donations can reclaim income tax.

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