Life came to her village

Around ten years ago, I began learning about the lack of access to clean water in various parts of the globe. It doesn’t take much research to learn what clean water means for a community. It the most basic way, it means life. Drinking dirty and contaminated water leads to all kinds of sicknesses that end a tremendous amount of lives. Young children are especially vulnerable because their immunities aren’t built up to fight off disease like adults. A case of diarrhea can become chronic, leading to malnutrition, leading to death. For many parts in the world, unsafe water is the only option.  I began supporting different organizations that provided clean water many years ago. As a family it became something we learned about together. I advocated for water wells and water purification systems on this blog. I don’t think you have to see something like lack of clean water to be passionate about seeing communities receive this most basic need.

I never thought I would see a community get a water well.

Then I went to Ghana.

For several years I’ve been a part of The Christmas Gathering, a local event by my friend Denise and her team. Part of the proceeds from the event go towards things like providing water wells in Ghana. While on our trip we were able to visit a village as they dedicated their first water well.

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The Chief shared all that the water well would mean to the village. In the community there are Christians, Muslims and those that practice Voodoo. The well had been provided by Christians, but the Chief and Denise spoke of how the well is for all people and how it should be a place of coming together and not division. The water would bring life, but it would also bring unity to the village. The water is for all.8.14ghana4-78.14ghana4-8

Because of our involvement in The Christmas Gathering, Denise asked Cindy and I to join the Chief in the ribbon cutting. I fought her a little on that…such an honor, but not one I deserved. I love how you can see the building excitement on everyone’s faces. Water was coming!!!!8.14ghana4-9

8.14ghana4-108.14ghana4-258.14ghana4-268.14ghana4-11The joy on the faces of moms standing nearby as the kids drank freely is something I will never forget. I  never worry about the water my kids drink. Watching these moms gather around the well without worry stopped me in my tracks.8.14ghana4-168.14ghana4-17Together the women immediately began filling their bowls to take home. It would take three women to lift the heavy bowls onto the head of another. So heavy!8.14ghana4-18Bowl after bowl. They kept coming.8.14ghana4-198.14ghana4-208.14ghana4-218.14ghana4-22

This is one of my favorite pictures. I snapped it with my iPhone. You can see the delight on her little face. Clean water came to her home. New life came to her village.8.14ghana4-24

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  • Betsy - What an incredible experience– I have enjoyed the pictures of the children sooo much – children’s faces are my favorite. Just wish I could capture them like you. Thank you for sharing them with us all.

  • Trisha - In what can sometimes seem to be a world full of sad news, I always love coming to your blog to be reminded of joys big and small that come about due to acts of kindness. Thank you.

  • Erica - Those amazing women. Those sweet children. So grateful for their water and for you to share their story. So moving and encouraging. Thank you!

  • Noel - Thank you for being there, taking pictures and writing about this. I feel like I am seeing it first-handed.

  • Laura S. - We in America take alot for granted. Not because we are selfish beings, because most have really never had to want or wish for clean drinking water and other sanitary conditions. I am very moved by your pictures and telling us about your journey. Have a blessed weekend!

  • Jenny L. - What a beautiful post. You are such a precious soul, Ashley. Seeing that clean clear water coming out the faucet is just so cool. I can imagine how excited they are. I can’t believe they can carry such weight on their heads. I have a bad neck and it makes me hurt just looking at them.

  • Erin m - that’s wonderful.

    You forget and take the little things for granted when it comes so easy to us.

  • Diana - Wow! Incredible!

  • Allison K - Such a beautiful post! The tears are flowing. I actually have been to a foreign country and seen a village receive the incredible gift of fresh clean water in the form of a well. But this post just brought everything that I saw a year ago flooding back.

  • ranee - beautiful photos of a beautiful story. thank you for sharing and for your involvement in helping make that well a reality.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - It’s on my heart to share this with you – “If the devil can’t attack you, he’ll distract you.” I truly think that the terrible comments earlier this week were trying to distract you. Thank you for going forward with posting. Thank you for educating us. Thank you for sharing their joy with us.

  • Laura - Absolutely stunning pictures. Thank you for sharing

  • Asbeh - Ashley, you’re simply one of the most amazing people to exist. I legit love you.

  • angie - so beautiful.

  • Hannah Ashley - Hey Ashley! I’ve been so blessed by your posts on Ghana! Thank you for sharing all that God has taught you through your experiences! Your pictures are very touching.

    I’m about to go to Africa for a few weeks myself and I was interested in knowing what camera equipment you took with you???

  • Taylor - What an incredible experience! How lovely for you to be there to witness it.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Nancy Farmer - Beautiful….absolutely beautiful.

  • Haley - So beautiful! 5 years ago, I traveled to Africa and got a stomach parasite from bad water. I was able to get help quickly, but I know many people aren’t so this is an important cause for me. Thank you for sharing these pictures.

  • Brady Wilhelm - Chills!! Love this!

  • Carrie - Tears of joy for people a world away receiving something so critical to health and so readily available in the US. Thanks for prompting so many of us to action with your stories.

  • Ashley - absolutely breathtaking! what an honor to be a part of something like that.

  • Kim - Wow, I am moved to tears! What a great story. I am friends with Denise. I have gone to school with her sister Donna since first grade.

  • Ice Bucket Challenge | I Take Care of the Funny Farm - […] On another note, there have also been the people trying to compare the dumping of water as a waste to the people in places like Ghana, where water is a scarce commodity. I don’t think it is fair to make a person feel guilty for dumping water over their head when we have it. Especially in my case when I was standing in the pouring rain! I will share with you a link to my very favorite blog, Ashley at Under the Sycamore. She really can relate to the water shortage in Ghana as it has been something very dear to her heart http://ashleyannphotography.com/blog/2014/07/25/life-came-to-her-village/ […]