Vic Hamer hopes to bring fresh water to a village in Kenya with the help of people in the Good Spirit Lake region.
Hamer, a retired wildlife biologist from Sparta, Illinois, splits his time and fundraising efforts between his home in the USA and his cabin at Burgis Beach, SK.
Hamer has spent much of the last several years performing charity work in the east African nation of Kenya. Most recently, he raised $20,000 and hired a Kenyan contractor to dig a well in the village of Kasarani after learning of the need from a Kenyan college student who attended his church.
The well was named “Ruth’s Well” after that student, Ruth Manyara.
Now Hamer has another well planned, this one for the village of Embu, 120 km northeast of Nairobi.
He plans to name it after a local man: Ches Patzer of Ebenezer, who died of cancer earlier this year.
“Ches was one of the first people I met when I came to this area, him and his family,” Hamer says. “He was a great man, a good family man, a strong Christian person, and just the type of person who makes you want to do something in his memory.”
“Ches’s Well” is expected to once again cost about $20,000, and Hamer hopes that much of the money can be raised here in Saskatchewan.
The positive effects of a freshwater well in a place that has never had one are immense, says Hamer.
“I do other projects in Kenya. I vaccinate cattle, I help the agricultural program with crops, with garden projects, at medical clinics, but water is number one in Kenya.”
Many rural villagers must walk miles just to access dirty water, he explains.
“I’ve seen ladies drawing water from a dry riverbed where hundreds of cattle have come to drink, because they don’t have a choice. They don’t have any water near their home.”
The situation is difficult for people in North America to even imagine, he adds.
“For $20,000, you can affect 30,000 people’s lives forever, and then their offspring. … You’re not only giving them fresh water to drink—you’re impacting their health, their babies’ health, the fact that they can use part of that water to have a garden. It just improves their lives a lot.”
Posters and collection jars for the Ches’s Well campaign will be placed in businesses around the region.
Hamer has founded a charitable group, “Give Me Water, Lord,” to handle this and future fundraising campaigns. The organization is currently in the process of becoming a certified non-profit in Saskatchewan.
Meanwhile, Hamer can be contacted via email at vicha...@gmail.com. Questions can also be directed to Ebenezer Baptist Church.