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Quenching African thirst Allison K. Sampité | Sat, Nov 19 2011 12:00 PM

 

Imagine spending up to eight hours a day walking to get water, knowing it will make you sick but that the alternative is no water at all.

Three hundred and sixty million people, or half the population of Africa, don’t have access to clean drinking water.

It’s a crisis that the Halfway There project is helping to change.

Located in National City, Halfway There was born about four years ago out of a small recreational reading church group.

Kay-Charlotte McClurg and her husband Craig are a part of the original group.

“The first chapter was about the need for water in Africa and we just couldn’t get past that,” Kay-Charlotte said.

The group immediately began brainstorming what they could do to help the water crisis and came up with the idea to sell a T-shirt to raise money.

Craig designed the shirt to represent their organization, with the proceeds benefitting well drilling projects in Africa.

“But we didn’t just want to donate the money to organizations,” Kay-Charlotte said. “We wanted to have a hands-on impact.”

Kay-Charlotte has worked with a nonprofit organization called Youth with a Mission, for more than 20 years and has been overseas multiple times.

“Africa isn’t a place where many people want to go,” she said. “But it’s a place that’s wonderful and very much in need.”

So far, Halfway There has raised more than $30,000 through sales of T-shirts and donations, which has allowed them to drill three wells in Bulanga and Rwanda, which serve thousands of people in those villages.

Kay-Charlotte said that women are the primary caretakers for children who get sick from water-related diseases, such as diarrhea and parasitic infections. Because people get sick so often, it takes time away from education and be economically productive.

“At an orphanage in Uganda, there was such a huge need and they asked if we could help them,” she said. “They were the first people we drilled for in the small village of Bulanga.”

Kay-Charlotte said that muddy pond water filled with so many impurities that boiling it wouldn’t purify it, is what used to supply many people who lived in Bulanga village.

The idea behind the Halfway There project stems from generous people and those who want to work with them including organizations like Water for Life and Living Water International.

“We’re excited to see the changes that have taken place,” she said. “It’s very humbling to help someone.”

Kay-Charlotte is a board member of Halfway There and also works part time as a school librarian at Veteran’s Elementary School, to help pay the bills and for her travel.

The McClurg’s are missionaries who live in Chula Vista and attend Eastlake Church.

 

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