West Hall fundraises for freshwater wells


West Hall residents have raised a little under $1,500 for Wells for Africa, a fundraiser that seeks to raise money to drill five freshwater wells in Kenya and Uganda.

The hall worked on the fundraiser from early February to late March by selling a variation of different things, including: blue Wells for Africa wrist bands, puppy chow and cookies. They also accepted donations.

Paul Johnston, resident director of West Hall, said students all over campus were encouraged to donate.

The idea to fundraise came up during a hall government meeting. While on summer break Johnston met the two organizers of Wells for Africa and was involved in helping Afri-Tendo, a group that helps fundraise for freshwater drilling at a public fundraising event.

According to the organization, there are five sites where it is necessary to have a freshwater well. One site is Ngato Bridge, a community outside of Kenya that consists mainly of small farms. The citizens there catch and store rainwater during the wet seasons that last about three months. However, the water does not last through the long dry seasons and they have to haul water for livestock from a muddy river about four kilometers away.

Freshman Temperance Shafer, who works as a secretary in the Wells for Africa project, said she was interested in getting involved because of her international studies major and her plans to intern in Africa her senior year. She added that finding out about the distances that people had to walk to get fresh water influenced the amount of time she wanted to spend on the project.

“They have to walk the equivalent of Negaunee to get water,” Shafer said. “There are towns of 8,000 people, but not enough water to support that amount of people so they have to walk to nearby villages. Sometimes the drinking water is so dirty that only animals can use it.”

“Hopefully, with the help of the Wells for Africa organization, this problem will not be so severe over the years. All we need is more help from others,” Shafer said.

Johnston said he is very proud of West Hall residents for taking an idea and developing it successfully.

The goal was to raise $3,000, and although West Hall residents raised just under $1,500, both Johnston and Shafer said they are very happy with the amount.

“It was really gratifying that we got that amount of money,” Shafer said.

Johnston added that students will be able to see what effect their fundraising has had. Pictures will be sent back from the organization showing the wells that their fundraising helped build. He said he will probably display the pictures on a bulletin board or in the trophy case of West Hall.

Students interested in donating to Wells for Africa can give donations at the West Hall front desk. For more information about Wells for Africa, e-mail [email protected] or call 970-728-4864.