4 Reasons for Giving Thanks

Children of Roke Fullah primary school - Sierra Leone

Thanks to you, students at the Roke Fullah school in Sierra Leone can drink safe water for the first time in their lives!

Patrick Manoah - Volunteer of the Year

Patrick is our 2016 Volunteer of the Year!

This is the season of Thanksgiving in the United States. I wanted to take a moment to count our blessings with you and update you with a little 2016 retrospective as well.

  1. Thankful for our volunteers. As an all-volunteer organization, Deeper Missions couldn’t make things happen without the passion, professionalism and wide-ranging skills of our volunteer team. We recognize one special volunteer each year as a top performer. This year’s Deeper Missions Volunteer of the Year is Patrick Manoah Musumba. Patrick was instrumental in identifying and vetting potential contractors for us in Kenya, and then coordinating site surveys for solar electricity and borehole well drilling projects. Patrick represents the sort of tireless and passionate volunteers serving with Deeper Missions. Thank you all!
  2. Thankful for lessons learned. Winston Churchill said something to the effect that, “I love to learn. I don’t
    Mohamed Nabieu at new Freetown office

    Thanks to you, Deeper Missions has a new Freetown office

    Ribbon-cutting celebration

    Open-the-Office ribbon-cutting celebration

    always like being taught, but I love to learn.” Some lessons are enjoyable to learn though there are challenges along the way–such as the process of opening the first Deeper Missions international office. Government bureaucracy is always a challenge; however, it was a great accomplishment with no setbacks while completing the paperwork with the various Sierra Leone Ministries and governmental organizations (Deeper Missions was actually highlighted by the country’s Association of NGOs for our diligence and punctuality in submitting our paperwork). Again, thanks to our volunteer and Board Member, Mohamed Nabieu, who was the driving force in this accomplishment. Our certification with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development gives Deeper Missions official governmental recognition as well as the privilege of importing one duty-free shipping container per year.

    Borehole drilling in Kenya has its risks

    Borehole drilling in Kenya has its risks

    And then there are other lessons which are harder to learn. While Sierra Leone’s question about the presence of water centers on “how far to drill beyond 120 feet?”, we learned that, in Kenya, the first question to ask is, “is it there?”. We had a setback while drilling our first well in Kenya, for the Akili Preparatory School for Girls–after two attempts at drilling, even down to 300 feet based on geosurveying, the two borehole wells came up either dry or producing insufficient water to establish a well. The good news is that the drilling company only charged us for drilling one of the boreholes since neither were a success; the lesson that came with a bit of a price was that in many parts of Kenya, even with reliable hydologic surveys, unlike Sierra Leone, in Kenya there is a risk of drilling a nonproductive well, so get a second opinion. We now have that second opinion which increases our confidence in the existence and location of a productive drilling site and are looking forward to completing the well for these girls and their teachers in 2017.

  3. Thankful for partnerships. Earlier this year, the Deeper Missions Board of Directors refined our mission to partner with schools for a longer term relationship in order to bring clean infrastructure and related entrepreneurial opportunities to the schools so students can thrive. We are now teamed with some amazing organizations and schools who we are excited to work with over the next 3-5 years. Additionally, because of Deeper Missions work andGirls at Akili School in Kenya word getting around, we are engaged in some shorter term partnerships, such as with Rotary International chapters who have asked us to implement safe sanitation and solar electricity projects for at-risk rural schools where they are piloting education-enhancing projects.
  4. Thankful for our donors. Of course, no amount of “muscle” from volunteering and partnering could implement the level of impact created without the lifeblood of the gifts and goods donated by our generous donors. Highlights of our year include the fact that over 3700 students in Motema, Sierra Leone, will have access to safe sanitation for at least the next 15 years. And every day in central Sierra Leone, 200+ students and thousands of their family and community members are now drinking safe water instead of dangerous river water. Deeper Missions now has official standing with the Sierra Leone government (with Kenya soon), reducing project-by-project logistics and enabling us to bulk-import materials which cannot be bought locally.

Executive Director with Deaf School leaders and local childrenThe list could go on but I wanted to share these four special reasons to be thankful this year.  From me, my family, and the Deeper Missions Board, we  wish you and all those dear to you a Happy Thanksgiving.

In Grateful Service,
Derek Reinhard
Executive Director

By |November 24th, 2016|

Reflections from Maasailand – Part I

After arriving in Nairobi very late (and having a deep personal discussion with customs about the solar lamps we were bringing in as gifts–though they were looking to tax them just the same) Wildlife-150x150Ross and I made our way to the Greengos Hotel where, the next day, we picked up board member, Kim, who arrived on an overnight bus from Kampala, Uganda where she is participating in a year-long public health fellowship.

We all visited the MANDO offices in the suburb of Karen before departing for our campsite home for the next four days in the Southern Rift Valley. Coming over the ridge from Nairobi and descending into the valley provided some breathtaking views and glimpses of wildlife we would be seeing daily during our local travels.

On the way to the campsite we stopped to visit a pre-school to discuss their water needs. The local Maasai community was very welcoming and patient as they explained the challenge of supplying water for the young students.

PrimarySchool-150x150After a meeting that included words of greetings from the elders, the Deeper Missions team and our host, Michael Sayo of MANDO, were honored to be invited to take chai tea with a local family in their traditional minyatta home.Minyatta-150x150

We then toured the Oloikum Nasira Primary School and received more greetings, traditional Maasai singing by some of the children and an explanation of their school teaching material and water needs, and viewed the construction progress on the new classrooms which the parents and community are funding.

WaterDam-150x150On the way to the campground we also saw a water catchment where rainwater is captured for the community and their animals. As you can see from the photo, the stored water cannot be kept clean and presents health challenges for the families which use it.

The campground and amenities were comfortable and all the “staff” were very welcoming (I use the term staff Campsite-150x150loosely as they were all family friends and relatives of our host Michael). They explained that the Maasai consider visitors a blessing and, as such, are treated with great kindness. We were not disappointed.

 

By |February 6th, 2015|

Amputee Camp Well Project: Complete!

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There were many happy faces on both sides of the Atlantic as we completed our latest project in Sierra Leone. The Mattru-on-the-Rails amputee community was joyful at the site of clean water pumped by the sun, flowing from standpipes in their camp, no longer requiring them to walk miles for clean water.

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Mohamed Nabieu, Deeper Missions volunteer project coordinator in Sierra Leone, visited the camp to see the new well in action. Traveling with Lappia Amara, director of the UMC artificial limb fitting center, they were greeted by camp leaders and residents who were enthusiastic about the project and the benefit it is already bringing to the community.

The project was initiated last year by Joy Jones in response to what she witnessed at the camp while on a medical mission trip (her original guest blog is here). The residents would have to walk three miles for fresh drinking water.

The design for the project was straightforward: drill a borehole well to the aquifer, (bypassing the groundwater table with its uncertain supply and purity), build a stand for a storage tank, wire a solar-powered water pump and then place the plumbing. However, gaining the funds in order to build the facility was beyond the means of a community which suffers from high unemployment, relying on subsistence farming and competing for day-labor work.

Mr. K, a camp resident, brought the impact of the new well into sharp focus for us when he said, “It has been long years now we have been straining for a facility like this. Initially, we have been using the nearby river for so many uses including even drinking. We have been struggling to get good drinking water in this camp and even its surrounding. We are over glad for this opportunity. ‘We say wata na life en na now we dae kam live we life de wae we want am’, meaning, ‘We say water is life. It is now the time to live our lives to the fullest with this safe drinking water’.”

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Thank you to all our supporters, especially to Joy Jones who brought this need to our attention. Through her tireless and enthusiastic efforts, and by the generosity of her friends and the Deeper Missions family of supporters, there are over 75 families representing more than 350 residents of the amputee community who will be enjoying clean, fresh water every day all year without the challenge of walking miles to fetch it or having to settle for drinking from risky water sources.

In closing, I’d like to share the words of Ms. M, the amputee camp’s women’s leader, who was very shy for the camera, still had these wonderful words to share, “on behalf of all the women in this camp, I want to express my thanks and appreciation to Deeper Missions and all those who have done this for us. We the women will now be easily able to do our domestic duties more efficiently with this water. We will now find it easier to cook, launder, drink, wash and do other things with this facility. ‘Mu ngohun nein go waa ha boi gisa vaa’, meaning, ‘our hearts are so glad for this facility’.”

UPDATE:

Even during the rainy season, there has been sufficient sunlight to keep the tank filled with safe drinking water for the community. The leaders have made an appeal to Deeper Missions that, for the sake of security, they would like to add a light to the area around the solar equipment. If you would like to “go the extra mile” with us, please click here to fund a solar-powered security light for the well area at the camp. Thank you again for your compassionate generosity!

 

 

By |May 27th, 2014|

Update: Amputee Camp Well Project – Construction and Plumbing

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We received an update from our in-country project coordinator and from the contractor that the construction and plumbing phase is complete!

This past week, a team of local workers dug holes for both the reinforced footers of the storage tank stand and for the grounding pit to the solar panels. Everyone is working in earnest before the rainy season starts making it more challenging to dry concrete (and keep water out of holes!). Progress went well as you can see from the photos.

There is now a tank stand in place and three distribution points which will have faucets from which camp residents will be able to draw deep-pumped, fresh water any day, any time of the year.

Digging_watertank_stand_and_grounding_pit-300x225The team returned to Freetown after completing this phase to wait for the solar components to arrive. They will then return to finish the project by placing the storage tank on the stand and the pump in the well, connecting the pipes and complete the solar wiring.

I am so pleased at how much support this project has received and how much of a difference it will make for such a disadvantaged community! Word has gotten around and Deeper Missions has been approached by another group to provide a well for a primary school and its surrounding community. If you like the results you’re seeing with this latest project, please help us jump start our next project click here and making a donation that makes a difference. Thank You!

 

By |May 2nd, 2014|

Breaking News: Breaking Ground on Amputee Camp Well

For Joy Jones, it all started with a visit to an amputee camp while on a medical mission trip to Sierra Leone in 2012. While there, she witnessed the daily challenges faced by people who were maimed during Sierra Leone’s devastating civil war, including a three-mile walk to access clean water. Joy knew she had to respond.  For those following Deeper Missions for a while, you may have read Joy’s guest blog from last November.

Geological_survey

Well drillers survey for best location.

 

Eighteen months later, after tirelessly seeking funds, we are all pleased to announce the ground-breaking for an all-season’s well at the Mattru-on-the-Rail Amputee Camp. The facility will use solar power to pump water into a 3,000 liter storage tank and adaptive faucets so water can be easily drawn, no matter the disability.

Located just south of the New London Section of Bo, Sierra Leone, the Mattru camp was started in 2007 by Friends of Sierra Leone, a Norwegian NGO. The village is home to 75 amputees and about 250 family members.

Accompanied by Mr. Lappia Amara, Director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s Artificial Limb Fitting Center, Deeper Missions Executive Director, Derek Reinhard, visited the camp while traveling in Sierra Leone last summer.  Derek met with camp leaders and discussed possible sites for the well.

Breaking Ground for Well Drilling

Mr. Lappia Amara and well drilling team

 

“It was an uplifting and humbling time to meet people who, despite their harrowing experiences, were happy and hopeful for the future,” Derek reflected. “Deeper Missions is honored to work with Joy Jones and her circle of friends, as well as with Mr. Amara and the Mattru leadership to bring more water security for the families in the camp.”

We will keep you updated on the progress of the well on this blog, our Facebook page, and Twitter.

If you would like to help Deeper Missions continue to bring community-healing clean energy, water, and sanitation, please consider giving a gift today.

By |April 2nd, 2014|

Deeper Missions Joins the End Water Poverty Coalition

The End Water Poverty (EWP) Coalition, is a civil society coalition comprised of 260 organizations in 60 countries and forms a global network of local organizations, national networks, and international NGOs committed to WASH projects and initiatives. The coalition focuses on creating an international alliance to end water poverty and improve sanitation.

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The EWP is active in campaigning for water security at conferences and events including the Least Developed Country Conference and the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) High Level Meeting. The next SWA Meeting will be held on Friday, April 11, 2014 at the World Bank in Washington DC. The EWP is also active in promoting the annual series of World Walks for Water and Sanitation in conjunction with World Water Day on March 22, 2014.  

According to The Water Project, half of the people in Sierra Leone get their water from unprotected sources. Infections caused by, and parasites most often found in contaminated water, lead to the largest cause of death in Sierra Leone. Deeper Missions work includes clean water and sanitation projects; our most recent effort, starting in March, is a well with solar pumping and adaptive faucets for the Matru-on-the-Rails amputee camp near Bo, Sierra Leone. The well will provide clean water for 350 members of the community who currently have to walk miles to get to the nearest clean water source. For more information on the project, visit our previous guest blog post by Joy Jones here. Donations for the amputee well project can be made here.

As a member of EWP, Deeper Missions will be able to connect with a global coalition and international network dedicated to ending global water poverty and improving sanitation.

“Together we can take actions in countries around the world at the same time so that all our efforts go further.” — Esmee Russell, International Campaign Coordinator and leader of the EWP Secretariat.

 

By |March 7th, 2014|

Ending on a High Note and What’s Ahead

Dear Deeper Missions Family and Friends,

As the calendar winds down it is traditional to look back and reflect on a year of accomplishments, as well as look forward hopefully at the road ahead. I’ve included a graphic that summarizes the exciting events of 2013 and provides a snapshot view of our busy 2014 plans. In order to help make these plans a reality, we hope you will consider including Deeper Missions in your end-of-year giving plans.

Derek with Fatorma - Deaf Student

Derek with Fatorma – Deaf Student

 

The year 2013 was a time of expanding partnerships for Deeper Missions as word got around of our work helping heal communities through sustainable infrastructure projects. A good example of that was when I was approached by a United Methodist Church community in Central Pennsylvania to request we help their sister church in northern Sierra Leone by installing environmentally sound sanitation; this Eloo project is now funded and will be completed in early 2014, benefiting the church and local community in a small rural community near Koidu.

Additionally in 2013, as we’ve shared much about the trip, a small but intrepid team traveled to the Ebert-Kakua School for the Deaf in the southern district of Bo, Sierra Leone. Our mission was two-fold: to help install a 1.2Kw solar electric system for the school and to provide deaf education enrichment workshops for the staff and community leaders. These high-impact projects brought light to an otherwise off-grid community, and an appreciation for the challenges and potential of the deaf community.

2014 is planned to be another breakout year for Deeper Missions as we deepen our presence and partnerships in Sierra Leone as well as explore expanding our work in Africa due to a series of “let’s get together” invitations.

First and most significant is our opening our first international office! Through some generous sponsorship, Deeper Missions has office space available and a volunteer project coordinator to staff it. We are in the home stretch for the funding to file the required forms and fees with the national government and we will be on our way to more closely manage and monitor our Sierra Leone projects.

2013-2014 Timeline

2013-2014 Timeline

 

Another exciting development is how the word of Deeper Missions work has traveled to other parts of the continent! We have met with and discussed a partnership with h2Empower to explore complementing their literacy work in Ethiopia by providing solar energy and safe sanitation projects for the libraries they serve; additionally, Deeper Missions has been asked to visit MANDO, which is a charity supporting the transition of the Maasai people from a herding culture to a sustainable, settlement community culture. There is great need to establish from the start the clean energy, safe water and sanitation projects for this historic effort.

All this work could not be possible without generous support from partners like you. In our home we celebrate Christmas at this time of year, in observation of God’s gift of light to the world in the form of His son, Jesus, whose work was to bring healing and reconciliation to the world. Deeper Missions hopes to reflect that healing similarly, through its work in communities most in need.

As I mentioned at the top of this post, we hope that you will include Deeper Missions in your plans for end-of-year gift giving or donating. Please click here to make a donation to help us continue our work.

We all send our warmest and best wishes for a healthier and more prosperous 2014, wherever this finds you!

Yours in Service,

Derek Reinhard
Executive Director

By |December 24th, 2013|

Ground-Breaking Enviro-Loos to Help Stem Cholera

Rough-and-smooth-sand-to-be-mixed-together-for-better-concrete-work.-300x225From UNICEF: Cholera is known as a disease that affects the poor because of the lack of access to clean water and improved sanitation. The best preventive measure against cholera is access to improved water supply, basic sanitation and hygiene.

Deeper Missions is working at the heart of the problem in Sierra Leone. It’s most recent project was initiated to benefit Mercy Hospital in Bo and the surrounding community.

With the help of an innovation grant from the Child Health Foundation, we started our second waterless, solar composting latrine construction that will bring improved sanitation and protect ground water from leaking pit latrines to the hospital located in Kulanda Town, Bo.

Click here to read more on construction progress.

By |August 31st, 2012|

Mercy Hospital and Nursing School – Sanitation Project

The Gates Foundation highlights that 1.5 million children die each year due to food and water contaminated with fecal matter–it’s a sad reality.

We’ve initiated a new sanitation project in Sierra Leone, assisted by a small innovation grant from the Child Health Foundation.

The project will provide 4 waterless solar composting latrines for Mercy Hospital. This will eliminate ground water contamination from using basic pit latrines in the area.

We only need $4500 by October to complete this project.  Please consider clicking on the “Donate” button to the right, today, to help make an important difference to thousands, visitors and the local community.

There’s also a Network for Good, “CAUSES” page for this project which provides more information, videos and photos. You can learn more and donate directly by clicking here.  Thank you!

By |July 4th, 2012|

Sanitation Project Validation and Hope For Kakua Program at Deaf School

With only 4 days and a long to-do list, we hit the ground running. The rainy season has been gentle on us so far–few showers and the worst storms were a couple of weeks ago.

Deaf school Eloo inspection

Inspecting Eloos after 4 months operations

 

Linda and I immediately headed out to the New York Section of Bo to meet up with the director of the deaf school and the sanitation project contractor from January.  We wanted to validate the Eloos were operating as expected after 4 months, as well as collect photos and profile information at the deaf school so we could complete more student profiles for our Hope For Kakua sponsors.

I was very pleased to see the Eloos were being used properly and that composting and dehydration was already occurring.

The day was also filled with the excitement of working with all the students at the Ebert-Kakua School for the Deaf that day–no matter the disability, children are children and young people are young people–full of hopes and fears, and always curious and willing to share a smile as I tried my halting signing skills while photographing each student, teachers interpreted, and Linda captured their interests and other personal details.

Young girls at deaf school

Fatmata and Kuru, 8 and 10, are students benefiting from the Hope For Kakua Program

 

Although Deeper Missions focuses on bringing health-giving clean energy, safe water and sanitation solutions to communities in need, the Hope For Kakua Sponsor-a-Student program is a natural extension to our mission as students are supported with essential materials and meals to help the learn at their best.

Linda and I are coming home with over 30 more student profiles to share with those who would like to help empower some of the most vulnerable of Sierra Leone’s population; young men and women, and children who, without the Ebert-Kakua School’s academic and vocational training, would be forced to simply beg on the streets each day to help feed their family.

Mercy Hospital Eloo Project Review

Derek reviewing Eloo engineering diagrams with contractor, Peter Jaka

 

We also spent the day looking ahead to the next sanitation project.  With new engineering and design specifications in hand, I met with Mr. Jaka, the contractor for the Mercy Hospital Eloo project, as well as with Mr. Sonneh, of LoMa Builders, whose company specializes in local building material excellence and training youth in construction skills. I hope to tour his training and manufacturing site tomorrow

Both men are anxious to prove themselves in this and future projects which, along with improving the health of their communities, will provide needed work for a country whose unemployment rate is estimated at a staggering 70%.

 

 

By |May 15th, 2012|