I had heard the stories about the Aquascape Foundation giving tens of thousands of dollars for each of five rain-water harvesting systems given to International Needs partners in Central America and Africa, and the amazing work of Certified Aquascape Contractors from all parts of the U.S. who pay their own expenses to install water filtration systems that provide abundant and clean water. So when I was told that Aquascape had committed to installing a 25,000 gallon rainwater system at the Buikwe Secondary School in Uganda in January 2017, I lobbied hard for the opportunity to be part of the team.

We launched our first day together by talking about another team of artisans and builders who came together for a common good: Nehemiah and the rebuilders of the walls around Jerusalem. The detail of chapter 3 of the book of Nehemiah which lists the names and skill of each worker (and their sons and daughters), and the precise location of the section of wall each had rebuilt, came to mind as I looked at a group of 20 landscaping and aquatics contractors.

As our work week together unfolded, we would all learn that the story of the unity of the rebuilders of the ancient wall in Jerusalem would serve as a good comparison to what we would experience.

Comparison of water before and after

Day One on the site at the school in Buikwe greeted us with several issues. We were a day behind schedule. The pit our Ugandan friends dug was 30 yards west of where it was to be dug – beautifully excavated but too wide and sloped at the bottom requiring Ugandans and Americans to grab shovels and backfill the pit. The location of the pit demanded more PVC pipe and electrical wire than was shipped a month earlier from the U.S., requiring hours-long journeys into Kampala for more.

Meanwhile, the battery charger for the case of DC-powered tools sent for the job blew up when plugged into the outlets even though we had used the appropriate conversion devices. This led to the electrical team members making saws from knives duct-taped to PVC pipes, and using screwdrivers to punch holes through concrete walls for pipes and wires!

The truck from the Buikwe District Fire Department that carried the water to partially fill the reservoir was diverted the morning we were to test the system to a local fire, and was delayed a day arriving at the school.

The water truck finally arriving!

Despite all the challenges, a solar-powered 25,000 gallon rain-water harvesting system was installed in only 2 ½ days!

Just before the team assembled to dedicate the system and receive the thanks of the International Needs Uganda staff, I stood looking at the work site quietly thanking the Lord for the provision of clean water for the 500 children of Buikwe Secondary School. Just then I heard someone say, “the Lord made this happen.” I turned to see a member of the team standing next to me, and responded, “yes, He did.”His words prompted me to look at Nehemiah’s account again, where I found the same declaration in chapter 6, verse 16 where it reads, “…this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.”

International Needs Uganda and USA thank the Certified Aquascape Contractors and Aquascape Foundation for their personal and professional contributions that will provide the people of Buikwe, Uganda with clean drinking water. We pray the Lord’s grace and abundant blessings upon their families and businesses, and add Nehemiah’s prayer on their behalf:

“Remember me, O my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.” Nehemiah 5:19

Tom Farley

2017 Aquascape Team
2017 Aquascape Team

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