I started my wild journey this past September. That is when I accepted a field volunteer position with charity: water to come to rural Northern Uganda for six weeks, on my own, with limited support and collect vital field information regarding their water projects. Meanwhile, I was currently serving my first volunteer position with Krochet Kids International in Lima, Peru. Let's just say people thought I was absolutely nuts, and maybe there was some truth to that.
Now, fast forward four months.
I have closed my incredible chapter in Peru and said goodbye to so many of my new lifelong friends. I have successfully led a fundraising campaign and raised $5,000 for my #lucastouganda journey, thanks to hundreds of supporters. I have spent the holidays with my always supportive and loving family. I have taken a leap into the unknown as I boarded my flight to Uganda. And now, I have been on the ground going non-stop in this breathtaking new landscape for a little over a week.
My job as a field volunteer is to go out into the Ugandan terrain and visit remote villages that have received clean water sources from charity: water's funding. When I visit, I am taking information from the community on the functionality of their borehole pump and the impact clean water has made on their village, and I am lucky to get to take many photos of these beautiful and charismatic people. This information then goes back to charity: water and they begin the process of sending out mechanics to the field, improving their processes or creating new ways to bring clean water to the people who need it most. In the past four days I have made it to 29 different villages in a 4x4 truck with my two Ugandan sidekicks Fred and Dennis from JOY Drilling, and a GPS in hand. We have been lost many times but have seemed to find our way from getting simple directions to "go down this red dirt path and turn right at the banana tree that leans a little to the right and you will see it next to the field of cotton plants" from the human GPS's (Ugandans) scattered throughout the bush. Then we find it; the holy grail of clean water, the community hang out and life source... the water collection site.
It seems we have seen it all, but I predict this is far from the truth. Smiling faces, water pumps gushing out clean and safe water, women with jerry cans on their heads, naked babies, flourishing communities, fields of growing pineapples and bananas, and more villages in need of clean water are just some of the things we have encountered. I have felt an overwhelming mix of emotions; I have felt inspired from the tenacity and pride of these people, frustrated as I see children missing school because they are fetching water, challenged by learning to accept that people prefer to live with so little access to anything, isolated as the color of my skin has scared away children or made many people stare, but most of all, I have felt humbled and joyful as I realize we, as humans, are all on this life journey together and nothing is that important that we cannot take a second to appreciate the little things in life.
I can only imagine what the next five weeks has coming my way and I could not be more excited to experience all they have to offer. Stay tuned as I will making sporadic updates from the field on this blog. Also, follow me on Instagram at @lucas_turner to receive photo and story updates. If you want more, check out the other Field Volunteers in Uganda, Ethiopia and Liberia by searching our hashtag #cwfield on Instagram and Twitter, or go to charitywater.org/blog/the-fantastic-five.
From the field,