The people of Opucet will continue to use the muddy water from their old hand-dug well to water their fields.  The traditions of the village will not be lost – the elders will see to that!  The women will continue to carry the large containers of water on their heads back to their cooking areas each day to make matoke, cassava, beans and rice. However, children (currently 170 students) will attend an acredited school, they will be spared from contracting many illnesses and diseases brought about by contaminated water and the quality of the lives of these vulnerable children will be improved.  

Children can maneuver the pump and drink straight from the well…

 …a  far cry from how they used to retrieve dirty water.  

Final features were added after our team left to continue our work in other communities. 

 The hardware needed to pump the water was installed and the community members built a fence to protect the area. 

How the clean water well looks today

The Penn Hills Rotary had provided some banners and t-shirts to share with the people of Opucet who were so grateful for the work of Betty Wade and Howard Davidson to see their dream become a realty. 

There is a local Rotary in Soroti and plans are underway to meet with them during our next visit in July 2015. They have tremendous respect for the individuals who make up the Rotary and recognize that the generosity of this organization will change their lives in so many ways.

Women and children no longer need to walk 4 miles each way to gather water.  Having water available close by decreses their risk of rape, physical abuse and to human trafficking.

All children, even girls and individuals with disabilities will have access to education that will enable them to continue on to college or technical school.

Access to clean water will improve health and wellness outcomes and prevent diseases that result in disabilities or even death.

Courtesy of Maranie Rae

Courtesy of Maranie Rae

Courtesy of Maranie Rae

Courtesy of Maranie Rae

Courtesy of Maranie Rae

Courtesy of Maranie Rae

I wish that every Rotarian could have experienced the joy that intensified as we all realized the extent of the accomplishment of bringing clean water to Opucet. 

At first the workers cupped their hands to catch the water to view the clarity.  The water was crystal clear and cool.  Villagers quickly brought containers to catch the water.  These were small at first but as they began to realize that the water would continue to come, larger containers were brought. 

The day was not without drama.  E-plus had agreed to complete the preliminary testing for water even before receiving the wire transfer from PNC Bank so we knew that the selected site for the well was suitable.   By the time we had arrived the funds were transferred into their account so the actual drilling could take place.

 Silver and his fiance Judith had planned their wedding around our visit which was the same day that the drilling began in Opucet.  Fortunately their church was in Soroti and the beautiful event was not negatively affected by the work being done at their village.  

The plan included tapping the well on the following day, Sunday.  Our team arrived on Sunday excited to see the first clean water only to find that no work was being done on the well – afterall it was Sunday and the workers day off.  Fortunately the E-plus crew showed up after attending their church services and completed the work – drawing the first clean water ever in Opucet.

It takes about 30 – 40 minutes on bumpy roads that look more like cow paths at times to arrive in Opucet from the town of Soroti.  Imagine how startling for neighboring villages to observe the massive equipment needed for drilling rambling down their small dirt roads.  

Silver’s community members determined that the best contractor to complete the well was E-plus General Engineering Services LTD.  As the leading drilling company in Uganda and with an office in Soroti, they were experienced and offered the best chance of success.  They were also willing to work with our time frame and had the equipement and manpower available to complete the work during our December visit.

The general contractor for the building of the school used information from  geological experts from Makerere University  who were brought in to determine where clean water could most likely be found.

Members of VCAYA returned to Pittsburgh with the hope of finding support in funding the well. The response from the Penn Hills Rotary to support this project was overwhelming.  Betty Wade researched possible matching grants and within 2 months had secured the funds for drilling the well just in time for our next visit in December 2014.

The original well in Opucet. 

Opucet community looking on as the first clean water is tapped in their village

The Value of Clean Water

On December 7, 2014 at approximately 2:30 pm, the first clean water to ever be available in the village of Opucet, Uganda emerged from a newly drilled well.  Shortly afterwards Peter Oonyo pulled Susan aside and placing his hand on the head of a small child of about 3 years, said,


“Since I was a child this big, the elders in my clan have been hoping to have clean water in our village.  They have been asking the government to help all of these years but today we have finally realized our dream.  Thank you.”

Penn Hills Rotary brings clean water to the village of Opucet

In order for the inclusive school to be accredited by the government, they must have close access to clean water.  The Rotary of Penn Hills raised the funds to drill a clean water well in Opucet.

Carrying water jugs on your head is not easy!! The women of the village walk 4 miles everyday to bring clean water to their village.

When we returned in June 2014 we experienced just how long that walk for muddy water was when we pitched in to help bring water to make bricks and cement for the foundation of the school.

Everyone deserves clean water!

When we arrived in Opucet in January of 2014, members of the village showed us their orchards, fields of cassava, sweet potatoes and sorghum.  The women showed us how far they walked to gather the water for the fields.  The water hole was dug by hand and required a plastic container and rope to retrieve the water for the plants. The water from this well is not safe to drink. The nearest clean water well is 4 miles away!!

Improving the lives of vulnerable children