Lindsey Pluimer, Founder & CEO
Published on the 7th of June, 2023
Reflecting on my recent trip to Kenya, I find it difficult to put into words the profound impact it had on me. The emotions and experiences I encountered during this journey were overwhelming, but I’ll do my best to convey them.
Accompanied by a group of passionate supporters, we recently took a week-long journey to Kenya, visiting five different projects throughout our stay. Of the travelers, all but one board member and I were experiencing Africa for the first time, so it was a true honor to witness our programs through their eyes and share in the wonder and awe that unfolded.
This group was a special one, one where everyone instantly clicked and bonded quickly, with tons of laughs and special moments that will forever bond us. I feel so fortunate to have had the privilege to guide them on this journey and witness the profound impact it had on each one of them. It reminded me of my first time to Africa over 14 years ago, an experience that altered the entire course of my life. Seeing the emotion in their faces was a feeling I was all too familiar with - one that deeply impacts you and stays with you forever.
As I reflect on my personal experiences, one word emerges - transformation. When I saw the transformation of the two sites I had visited last year, my jaw dropped. Stepping out of the van, I was immediately greeted by rolling hills of greenery, flourishing tree nurseries, and rows upon rows of thriving vegetables. My heart swelled with overwhelming emotion as I realized the reason behind this miraculous growth - these communities now had access to clean, life-sustaining water. It was a moment that took my breath away.
At one particular site, we were welcomed by the community’s enchanting singing voices - a chorus of hope and resilience. I took in all that they had accomplished since visiting with them last year. In less than a year, their efforts alongside their water project resulted in a small, community-funded farm, a water pipeline reaching the nearby school, and a three-wheeler motorbike they purchased to distribute water to more distant communities.
What struck me even more profoundly was the absence of school-aged children present - a welcome sight indicating they were in school. Through the community’s water and food sales, they had already been able to fund the education of ten children.
At that moment, I couldn’t contain my overwhelming pride and joy. Witnessing our model in action, I was reminded of the true power of access to clean water and our shared investment training for capacity-building and opportunities within these communities. Seeing our community partners feeling that same pride in their own successes magnified the impact even further. A community that had to endure a three-hour walk for unsafe water now has clean water readily available, reliable food sources, and a steady income to support their needs.
This women-led water project also received recognition from the men who voiced the valuable contributions of the women, highlighting the benefits of increased time and opportunities for their families. Seeing this shift in gender roles is a true testament to the power of access to water. It is this scale and depth of our impact that distinguishes us, and for that I am incredibly grateful to be a part of this work.
We heard from mothers, teachers and community beneficiaries who welcomed us by sharing stories of hope and change with access to clean water and reliable food sources. Women spoke of reclaiming their time, enabling their children to return to school, resolving conflicts at home, and experiencing improved health and happiness.
At one site, I attempted to carry a jerry can half-full of water over my head, just as the women do. I took a total of 6 steps, when they used to walk 6 miles for water, and I could barely do it. It was a moment that allowed me to momentarily step into their shoes and recognize their strength and unwavering dedication to their families. This burden they carried was not just physical; it was a weight that made witness to their sacrifices and the power of clean water to alleviate their struggles.
While visiting three children’s homes, we witnessed how our agriculture projects were transforming the lives of young children. We heard about their diets diversifying and their costs on food decreasing. It was a stark reminder for me - a testament to the profound importance of our work and the extraordinary individuals who make this impact possible.
I’m so grateful for our community of supporters who champion our cause and mission. This work is only possible because of your generous hearts and willingness to invest in the lives and well-being of others. My heart is full, and I am inspired to continue doing work more alongside you.
In the end, it is the stories of those we work alongside that resonate most profoundly. Together, we shall continue to uplift, empower, and transform lives in East Africa - one drop, one seed, and one heart at a time.