A Family's Story

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Helen Opio has eleven people in her family. Each day, Helen and a couple of her strongest children take three trips to the nearest water source, which is about a 25 minute walk in each direction. She then waits 30 minutes at the water source for her turn to fill up her jugs of water (or "jerry cans"). In one day, she collects between ten and twelve jerry cans of water. Each jerry can holds 20 liters and weighs 44 pounds, so she transports 500 pounds of water weight every day, and no short distance.

 

When I asked how much Helen would pay to have one jerry can of water delivered to her home, she said, "I would be willing to pay 300 shillings ($0.08) to have a jerry can of water delivered to my home." When asked what she thought about a water delivery service that would only cost 50 shillings ($0.013) per jerry can, she laughed in disbelief and said, "It would make me happy, and if it happened like that, it would be a good change to my home and family." She said she would have all of her water delivered if it were that price.

 

50 shillings for the delivery of one jerry can of water to a family or business's doorstep. That's our vision.

 

Helen's story is one of hundreds in the town of Karuma that we are very intentionally pursuing. Matt is conducting surveys of families and businesses in the community in the hopes that their answers to our questions—the above story is from one such survey—will be convincing enough for people to support us in establishing this very water delivery business. Such a service would revolutionize the lives of every person in Karuma and, we hope, eventually all of Uganda.

 

Stay tuned for more updates.

A Sudden Departure

As of last night, Matt is booked on a flight to Uganda, scheduled to depart in five days.

The goals of this trip are:

1. Land—Matt will look at several plots of land in town that have been scouted out for us by a Ugandan friend. If a plot is found that would work well for the water service, then Matt will purchase that plot.

2. Family Surveys—Matt will partner with a local Ugandan who is fluent in English and the local dialect, Luo, and together they will conduct in-person, oral family surveys with Karuma households. These surveys will gauge things like how far families travel for water, how much they need daily, and if they would be interested in the water delivery service we are planning to start. While we have asked these questions before on a small scale, we want to do this in a more legitimate manner with at least 100 households. Those 100 households would represent 1,000 or more residents of Karuma, as each household generally is very large. We hope for a lot of positive feedback, but in reality, these surveys are designed to give us real world feedback from locals who would be benefiting from the service. Our hope is to use this data to convince supporters of the need and demand for such a service. 

3. Media Content—Matt will be borrowing Jessica's amazing, full-frame camera to photograph and video the town of Karuma and its residents. We hope this will give you a better look at the faces of the people—real people like you and me—who we are trying to bring out of great suffering.

More to come.

Ending The Year

For those of you coming to this page with a curiosity for what happened during our trip—we're sorry that we didn't put any updates on here!

Our internet access was severely limited while we were in Uganda, being in the bush and all, so we sent updates exclusively through our newsletter. We strongly encourage you to subscribe to our newsletters. We promise we won't flood your inbox, as we actually struggle to get updates out at all, relying a little heavily on telling people in person what developments are going on at Lilies in the Field.

Highlights:

1. We are officially a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. We received approval in August, but didn't find out till December, due to some mail issues. To those who have donated, all donations that were written out to Lilies in the Field, even if they were before August, can still be written off your taxes, due to a 27-month backdating clause the IRS has in place.

2. We are fleshing out a plan for a service for delivering water to people's doorsteps at a price that's affordable to most Ugandans—1/10th the current market rate, to be precise. More updates to come, but again, subscribe to our newsletter for the most comprehensive updates! We do promise to try and be more active on this blog, however. Some information on the business idea is on this page.

Ramping Up

Our departure is three weeks from today. 

It's bizarre how in our minds, these next three weeks seem like they'll shoot by (and they likely will), whereas the six weeks we're scheduled to be in Uganda feel like an abbreviated lifetime.

Excuse the bareness of the website, we'll flesh it out more as time permits.