Harvest Appeal: Pumps that protect

25 September 2019

Engineers install and mend water pumps in Karamoja, Uganda – a region that suffers from extreme drought.

Caritas Moroto installs and mends water pumps in Karamoja, Uganda – a region that suffers from extreme drought.

14-year-old Fabiano was attacked collecting water in the dark. Now, thanks to your donations, our local experts have installed a solar-powered pump near his home in Uganda.

A journey in the dark

It was dark when Fabiano was attacked.

He was alone and a long way from home. He’d just finished collecting water for his family. He had to go before dawn so he wouldn’t miss school.

In the darkness he saw a man.

The man asked for something to drink. Fabiano is a kind and generous boy. He offered the man some of his water – his family’s water.

The man took a swig and poured the rest of the water out onto the ground. Fabiano tried to stop him, but the man started beating him across the back – hard. There was no one else around and the sun still hadn’t started to rise. Fabiano did the only thing he could. He left the water and ran.

“I felt so much pain that I just thought, ‘My life is worth more than this.'"

Fabiano, 14

“I felt so bad,” says Fabiano, “I felt so much pain that I just thought, ‘My life is worth more than this. I will leave him with the can.’”

He ran home and told his mum what had happened. Like any mother, she was just so relieved he was safe. But Fabiano knew his family desperately needed that water. What they had left would barely last a day.

The next morning, aching and bruised, Fabiano picked up the family’s spare water can and set out to the well. He was scared, but what choice did he have?

Discover more about Fabiano's story

Bringing water close to home

Thankfully, Fabiano would not have to be scared much longer. Help was at hand. Through our Church network, we heard about the water shortages in Karamoja – the rural part of Uganda where Fabiano lives – and our local experts set to work.

“I want to help them because I am one of them. I know these problems."

Local expert Daniel

Daniel is one of those experts. He grew up in Karamoja, so he understands better than anyone what it feels like to struggle for water every day. That’s why he does what he does.

“Why do I do this work? Because working with the people, the Karamojong, is fulfilling,” says Daniel. “I want to help them because I am one of them. I know these problems. I recognise them. I have experienced these issues. The drought. Collecting water.”

After speaking with the community to find out where the need was greatest, Daniel and his team took a detailed geological survey of the region. They were looking for subtle signs of water flowing deep underground – water they could drill down to.

They found it. And, with money raised by CAFOD supporters in England and Wales, Daniel’s team did what they do best. They started building pumps.

Fabiano on the farmland he looks after with the water pump behind him

Now his community has a solar pump near their home, Fabiano and other children like him don't have to make the long and difficult journey for water.

They built a pump in Fabiano’s village. A solar-powered water pump, so close to Fabiano’s home that he can walk there and back in less than four minutes. Now the sun is high in the sky when he leaves in the morning. He doesn’t have to walk in the dark anymore to make sure he doesn’t miss school.

“It was so hard in the past, now it’s better,” says Fabiano, smiling. ““We knew life would change when the pump was installed… and it did.”

Fabiano still thinks about the man who attacked him. But he doesn’t feel anger or hatred towards him. Instead, he prays that God will forgive the man.

Fabiano knows what it’s like to be thirsty. He knows many people still are.

Fundraise for Family Fast Day

By eating a simple meal on Family Fast Day on Friday 4 October and giving to our Harvest Appeal, you will be helping our network of experts reach people, wherever the need is greatest.

Be it water, food, health, education, a home or a job – your donation will be put to work right away reaching those most in need.

Join in Family Fast Day

This story appears in the summer issue of Side by Side magazine.

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