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- Cleopatra's water well -

Story of Zambian girl shows why Walk4Water is vital


by: REVIEW PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Sebastian Kunda of Zambia is the guest of honor for Walk4Water7 on Saturday. From left are Kunda and event committee members Linda Favero, Bill Savage, Sharon Reichle and Mary Austin.Few great projects can boast the before-and-after stories of Walk4Water.

Few people can give better testimony to that than Sebastian Kunda.

A native of Zambia, Kunda is an engineer and a technical adviser for World Vision. He traveled 50 hours to make his first trip to America so he could attend Walk4Water7 in Lake Oswego on Saturday and tell the participants why the walk is such a great cause for changing the lives of Zambian people.

“Two out of five Zambian people do not have access to safe water or sanitation,” Kunda said.

Such a situation causes many Zambians to live out lives acquiring only the barest necessity to live, walking long distances to carry water that is unsafe and endangers their health.

Then there is Kunda’s before-and-after story about a 10-year-old girl named Cleopatra. Every day she would wake up at 5 a.m. and walk for two hours to a stagnant pond, then two hours back home carrying a 42-pound bucket of unhealthy water for her mother, who sold milk to make a living, and two younger siblings. In the afternoon, after school, she would have to repeat the same ordeal. She dreamed of being a teacher, but every evening she was so exhausted she could barely study and do her homework.

“Imagine such a girl with water,” Kunda said.

Now, Cleopatra has regained her dream. A water well, constructed with funds raised through Walk4Water, was dug in her village, and she now has safe water and sanitation. Her eight hours a day spent acquiring enough water to live has been reduced to 20 minutes.

“She has all of the time she needs,” Kunda said. “She can concentrate on her studies and her performance has improved tremendously. Her health is much improved. Her mother has more time to spend with the children. The family can now grow vegetables, to eat them and to sell them.”

It is stories like these that have inspired Lake Oswego people to ever greater efforts in Walk4Water, and this year the goal is to raise $70,000. That will mean 1,400 Zambian people will have safe water and sanitation for life.

“We like bringing people like Sebastian here,” said event organizer Linda Favero. “It shows where our money is going.”

Participating in Walk4Water means satisfaction guaranteed.

“I’ve been to Zambia and I saw my own personal well,” Favero said. “I pumped it along with the people of the village. ”

But the fundraising goal gets higher and higher. Can the water walkers raise $70,000?”

“We always reach our goal every year,” Favero said.

“We’ve got $40,000 pledged even before the walk,” said event committee member Mary Austin.

Walk4Water7 will start with registration at Foothills Park on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. Participants will then carry a bucket to Oswego Lake, dip it in the water and carry it back to the starting point, a journey of 2 miles that simulates what many Zambian people must do every day.

Registration can be done online at waterafrica.org.



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