Because of the drive and determination of Josh Kill, people in a small village in Kenya, Africa will soon have a well from which they can obtain drinking water, a privilege they have not had but now welcome.
It was the summer of 2013 that Josh, then the vice president of the Cardington FFA Chapter along with McKenzie Smith, the chapter president, were attending the Washington Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.
Before they left the conference each of those attending, was given an LTS (Living to Serve) Plan, which involved the identification of a problem somewhere in the world and then working to solve it. Josh chose the Water Project after learning of the desperate need for water in Africa. This project is an organization that helps bring clean sources of water to rural villages in Africa and after he spoke to Neil Swonger, his chapter advisor. He was advised to develop a plan to raise the $5,000 needed to underwrite the project. He then created a web page on the Water Project website to describe the plan.
It wasn’t long before donations began to be given and in addition to private donations, Chester Arbor of the Gleaners Life Insurance Society, was the first organization to contribute with $300. The ball kept rolling when after a discussion with Scott Hardwick, C-L Elementary principal and the elementary teachers, Water Wednesdays were initiated which allowed any student to purchase a bottle of water for $1 to enjoy during class after recess. The money raised was used as a donation towards the project. A sum of $800 was raised. Two third grade classes were the top sellers - that of Mrs. Dawn Ruehrmund and the class of Mrs. Janet Sedlacek.
Cardington Junior High students also purchased water and beef jerky and they hosted a dodge ball tournament raising $500 for the project.
Also donating were the Cardington FFA Alumni ($500); the Cardington FFA Chapter ($1,000); Crawford Drainage and R. R. Niese Farms ($250 each) and a $400 donation from the Cardington-Lincoln Faculty Association helped to push the project over its goal to a final total of $5050.
Upon reaching the goal, Josh contacted the Water Project and advised that the fund raising was complete. Kenya was selected as the country where the well and a sand dam will be built. A bore hole will be drilled in the village to abut 90-150 feet and the hole will be cased, a concrete apron installed around the base of the well to protect it and a hand pump attached.
Local community members will be trained in the operation and basic care of the well After the sand dam is built, it will allow water to be filtered and stored so that it can be used for agricultural purposes like irrigation of crops and watering livestock.
Numerous other smaller fund raising projects by other organizations all over the world have been combined with this project to allow additional work to be completed. The Cardington FFA is the underwriting sponsor of the project and the expected completion date is August 31, 2014.
Kenya has a population of 39.8 million people and 43% lack clean water while 30% are beneath the poverty line. Life expectancy is 57 years and the infant mortality rate is 55 deaths per 1000 live births.
The African Sand Dam Foundation helps farmers in arid and semi arid lands gain access to clean water. “When water comes, everything changes,” said a driver who drove visitors from town to town in Kenya. “And we see the change every time a new well brings clean water.”
Josh, who will be a freshman at Ohio University this fall, said “Thanks to the community for all they have done for this project.”
Thanks to you, Josh, for your motivation and determination to make a difference.
Updates can be viewed on the webpage at www.thewaterproject.org/community/profile/Josh-kill.