Jack Nadel in Africa: How a Borehole Changed Life on Gideon’s Orphanage
Updated: Jun 26
If you were to find yourself in the village of Ramba, in Western Kenya, during the early mornings, you’d notice a confluence of people walking in the same direction. You would notice a newly beaten path toward a previously insignificant part of the village. You’d notice, at the end of that path, the bright greens of freshly sprouting crops.
You would notice something that wouldn’t have been there some seven or eight months ago.
Frequent readers will know about Jack Nadel International’s partnership with Gideon’s Orphanage in Kenya. If you have not had the chance to read about our wonderful partners then you can do so here.
Gideon’s is a special place. It is a home for abandoned and orphaned children, a haven for widows and struggling mothers and, as of 2013, it is also a secondary school. Gideon’s is fast becoming a centre of the local community.
Much of that is down to the work of Newton Atela and his wife, Caroline Weda. They have dedicated their lives to the advancement of Ramba and its inhabitants.
Despite Newton’s honourable work, his project in Ramba is wide-ranging. His ambitions toward changing the village’s fortunes are admirably large. Unfortunately, they needed help. Incredible people and organisations, such as Sophie McLachlan and Awaken Love for Africa, stepped in where Newton’s hard work needed a little assistance.
More recently, as part of our Tap for Life campaign, Jack Nadel International have been working closely with Newton and his team to bring a new system of water supply to the area. As of seven months ago, that project is complete.
Providing a stable source of drinking water
The results have been astounding. Prior to the borehole’s completion, the nearest water supply was an often-unclean river that was a 15-mile round trip away. A backbreaking distance that can’t be completed often enough when the worst of the hot weather hits.
The new borehole ensures that drinking water is always close at hand.
Transforming the area
Almost immediately, the area around the new freshwater pump was turned toward subsistence farming. It was astonishing considering as Kenya, at the time, witnessed yet another of the droughts that plague much of the country.
The orphanage itself is self-sufficient. It has to be, owing to its remote location. It has converted some 25 acres to the cultivation of maize, beans and vegetables. Now, these crops are secured against the droughts.
Food security, something seldom counted on in this part of the country, has been assured. But the effects are felt far further afield than the most obvious boon to local agriculture.
Securing the health of the orphanage’s inhabitants
Gideon’s is shelter to the most disadvantaged peoples of an already disadvantaged country. Many of its occupants come to the haven injured or diseased. Kenya’s heat and the rural nature of Ramba make it a potential hot bed for the spread of infectious diseases.
The new borehole, a source of clean water, has done incredible things to combat the spread of disease. Now, everyday and after local family members have taken what they need for sustenance, the area has become a meeting place for local laundry doers, pot-washers, and all others concerned with the sanitising of their belongings.
In so doing, building a community
Under the jua kali, the ‘angry sun’, many of Gideon’s inhabitants and neighbours swap stories and tidbits of news as they clean, drink or water the nearby plants. Jua Kali is the Swahili term given to work done like this, outside and subject to the elements.
And it is also, as any who have witnessed Ramba’s residents standing among the green leaves of the new farm can attest, a great chance to get to know your neighbour.
JNI expected access to clean drinking water to be of huge benefit to local inhabitants. What we did not expect was the sense of community that it would bring. It was just another one of life’s happy consequences.
There are millions of young girls and boys just like those at Gideon's Orphanage. Children who are suffering through no fault of their own. If you want to help them find their path to a brighter future, text JOY to 70085 and donate £5 per month. A small sum for a life-changing contribution.