A Granum family has its work cut out for it to raise $20,000 to bring fresh water to a village in Uganda.
The Gripping family knows that its burden pales in comparison to the daily challenges faced by people living in Akampala, who walk for miles to get water for drinking and cooking.
“Some of them are making two or three trips a day to get enough water for the family to survive,” Walter Gripping said.
The Gripping family will travel to the Ugandan village in August to install a bio sand filter system that will provide the village of 350 people with clean water.
Working in co-operation with the registered Canadian charity Rays of Hope for Uganda, the Grippings want to build a filter system that will last up to 25 years before it has to be restructured.
“Hopefully we can teach them to do their own filter,” Walter Gripping said of the ultimate goal of making people in the village self-sufficient.
To raise awareness of their cause, and to generate some money, the Grippings have organized an event Saturday, June 16.
Vince Gripping, Jordan Richards-Menzies and members of a Claresholm running club will walk 17 kilometres carrying 50-pound jerry cans of water in a wheelbarrow.
“It replicates about the distance these people haul their water,” Walter Gripping said of people in Akampala. “Most of the hauling is done by young girls, starting at the age of eight, who walk barefoot.”
The local walk will travel to Claresholm from Stavely and end with a rally that includes carnival games, face-painting, hamburgers and a silent auction.
Walter and Marilyn Gripping and their children Beth, Teresa, James and Vince first travelled to the Kaberamaido region of norther Uganda in December 2010.
During that visit the Grippings helped Rays of Hope for Uganda build a playground and a school for orphans in Akampala, a small fishing village.
“We fell in love with the people, and the mission,” Walter Gripping said.
The Grippings were struck by the health problems faced by people in the village, not the least of which is deadly typhoid, a water-borne illness.
That identified the need for a system that will provide clean potable water.
“It’s not a matter of a lack of water,” Walter Gripping explained. “It’s a matter of safe water.”
The system the Grippings propose to use incorporates natural sand, gravel and rock. One cycle provides about 2,500 litres of clean water, and three to four cycles can be done daily.
The Grippings will also take Singer treadle sewing machines that Ugandan women can use to set up their own businesses making clothes.
“We’re trying to teach self-sufficiency,” Walter Gripping said.
The Grippings will pay their own transportation costs but hope to raise enough money to pay for the filter system.
They are inspired in their challenge by the people they met in Uganda.
“Although they have almost nothing, the joy and love and happiness in living is still there.”
People are encouraged to attend the post-walk rally from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 16 at Willow Creek Composite in Claresholm.
For information or to donate to the cause call Marilyn or Walter Gripping at 403-687-2595 or email@example.com.
The Grippings are committed to helping Rays of Hope for Uganda help people in the village.
“I don’t think this is going to be our last trip,” Walter Gripping said with a smile.