Rick Gregory, Writer

Translating Messages From Heads To Hearts

Wells, Pygmies and Goats

This has been a wild year! Gotta confess that we’ve been bad . . . real bad at staying in touch. We truly hope to do a better job communicating in the year to come.

This year saw both Sherry and me complete our Master’s degrees – Sherry in Nursing and me in International Development. For both of us, it was the culmination of many years of full-time school. Now is when it starts to get really interesting . . .

I’m leaving for San Angelo, Texas on the 13th of March to train with a man who invented a technology for digging wells, each of which costs around US $100. After the training week in Texas, Sherry and I, along with a young man named Mark Ukleja, will head off to Burkina Faso (in West Africa, near Ivory Coast) with the hope of initiating a project team we can train to dig these wells throughout the country.

After 2 weeks in Burkina, Sherry and I will head down to Uganda, to the same hospital ministering to the Batwa pygmies, where we spent the summer of 2005. When we returned after our first trip, I wrote a grant, asking for funds that would bring clean water, sanitation and some goats to the pygmies. The grant was approved and funded this past summer by Rotary International, to the tune of just under $300,000. Sol Henson, a hydrologist from UC Davis is currently in Uganda administering the water and sanitation components of the project. A Rotarian from Reno had committed to spend a year administering the goat segment of the project, but it appears he won’t be able to do so. I received a call about a month ago, asking if I might be able to come and give some leadership to that portion of the work . . . so here we go! I actually have no idea what it might look like for us to be involved again with the Bwindi Community Health Centre , but we’re sure going to find out. Here is another link with more information about the work in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, begun by Scott and Carol Kellermann, and where it looks like Sherry and I might be spending some significant time over the next few years. One of the things Sherry is hoping for is the opportunity to work closely with the maternity wing at the hospital and become proficient as a midwife.

There are still lots of questions left unanswered for us: like . . . when will we be coming back? We just aren’t sure right now. Though I’m getting a week’s worth of hands-on training in Texas, they say it takes quite a while to really grasp the nuances of effectively digging and starting these types of wells. Apparently, you can’t capture the “art” to these wells without actually doing them – lots of them. So, one of the options we’re considering is having me spend an additional 3 months or so, traveling throughout the Ethiopian bush, going from village to village, digging these wells. If we pursue this option, I’d very much like to bring someone from both Burkina Faso and Uganda to train alongside. Sherry would stay at the hospital in Bwindi while I undertake this adventure.

Thanks for taking the time to wade through this. For those of you who pray, please keep us on your list!

Have a wonderful New Year and we’ll be in touch again soon.