Driving for 2 hours over dirt roads, muddy and deeply rutted from the heavy rains, the village of Gamba-Nongolo in the Huila Province fits RISE’s “rural” criteria. As a US RISE team arrived, several hundred children lined up in white uniforms, sang a wonderful welcome and cheered with gratitude for their new school. Funds raised through the Chicago Marathon effort had been wired at the end of October and construction began. The building process was completed in 3 1/2 months – hundreds of children were in classrooms for the first time, sitting in desks, learning as the school year began on February 1st.
In addition to the school, the community also received a well at the school site. In February 2010, the group shared that the well had been completed and in use for two months – there was no more cholera, diarrhea and other stomach problems had been significantly reduced. The women and girls who had been walking 10km each way for water were thrilled and grateful to have water a few steps from their homes. It is one of the “greatest things that has ever happened to the village.” All in the community have access to water, serving about 120 families everyday.
The wells in this area are installed with a wheel and require little maintenance other than lubricant. The community at Gamba-Nongolo selected a team of 5 people to care for the well, who were trained by the Ministry of Water and Energy. One is the leader of the group, one is responsible for the area around the well, two oversee the well and its use, and one is the treasurer as the community gives money for maintenance. The community team is also responsible to teach about clean water and its importance in disease prevention.
Well drilled with funds from Willow Creek Community Church's Celebration of Hope
We are currently fundraising to build the Njele school. Our goal is to begin construction in 2017. This school will educate 800 children.