From glue-sniffing to Uni

Staff_Project Engineer_Mike ReynoldsEx-British Army officer Colonel Mike Reynolds, is a Trustee of Just a Drop and our project engineer in Uganda. Mike has worked on all seven continents and is now a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Plant Engineers. An old hand in Africa, he gained an interest in water projects whilst serving with the Brigade of Ghurkas in Nepal.

Staff_Project Engineer_Mike ReynoldsHe has been involved in projects in Mongolia, Chile, Bolivia, Niger and Kenya. Because of Just a Drop’s expansion, he now concentrates as a Project Engineer for Uganda. Working closely with Just a Drop’s local partners and tries to get villages and schools themselves involved in implementing the work because, “That way, people will take ownership and more pride in their new water source.”

This is what gives Mike great satisfaction in his retirement.

He has also helped to coordinate a number of our projects in Kenya, including the Just a Drop project at the Immanuel Afrika Centre. The installation of a water tower and tank gives a regular flow of water to the centre’s kitchen and bathrooms, and an irrigation project has begun at the centre’s one-acre farm.

 

This is Mike’s account of one of the boys he met at the Immanuel Afrika Centre

James’ father died when he was very young, leaving his mother with five children. She could not cope.

Immanuel Afrika Centre_Kenya_Just a Drop water projectJames drifted onto the streets of Nairobi, where he lived for a number of years. His sole possessions were rolled each morning in a sack. He survived by pickpocketing and selling scrap metals. He made life feel as if it were less harrowing by sniffing glue, although he was often beaten up by the police and hospitalised.

The Immanuel Afrika Centre found him on the street and took him in hand. They made him substance-free; gave him back his self-respect; educated him; and fired him with ambition. He is off to Nairobi University soon.

Project_Kenya_119AF_Immanuel Afrika

So many things have had a positive impact on James’s life, not least his access to clean water, which was provided to the centre by Just a Drop. He can now turn on a tap and drink clean water without the fear of water-borne diseases; he can bathe daily and looks clean and smart in his fresh clothes. The water is used on the vegetable garden which produces a wide variety of good things to eat. James is now healthy, clean and alert. He is eager to learn and become a good and contributing Kenyan citizen.

The Centre would not have been able to expand without its own water supply. Thanks to Just a Drop, more young street boys like James will have the chance of a brighter future.

If you would like to learn more about Just a Drop’s work in Kenya, please click here.

Written by Margaret Welsh.