Constructing wells is a delicate and complicated process, especially in Kenya. 28Bold’s founder, Christan, figured that out for herself during her trip there last fall. From the difficulty of gaining access for drilling to communicating across cultural barriers, completing the process within the West African country was not easy.
Kenya is a proud nation, rich in different customs and diverse terrains, but its governmental systems are shrouded in corruption. Much of business in Kenya is done with bribery, and many of its people live day to day without basic necessities, including clean water.
Despite the challenges Christan and her team encountered abroad, she knew that the locals were in critical need of clean water for various purposes, including bathing, drinking, and cleaning. Christan recalled a time when, after successfully drilling a well, a local woman with a small child on her back approached her and exclaimed,
“I never thought I’d be able to bathe my child every night.”
This instance serves as a reminder of how access to usable water truly is a blessing. Christan and her team worked tirelessly to bring the same joy felt by this woman to Kenya. However, it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing: there were several barriers to the clean water Kenyans deserved.
Complications with Drilling
Christan has worked abroad before, serving people throughout the African continent. Her time in Kenya was a learning experience, which forced her to reevaluate and tackle obstacles she had never faced before. In Kenya, several permits are required to access and drill wells. That process was challenging for Christan and her team, and once they had the ‘green light’ to drill, there were other difficulties.
To build the wells, a rigorous drilling process is required. Christan had to drill 260 meters down to get to water. Once her team began, the drill bit broke.
“When a drill bit breaks, the only option is to take everything out… 260 meters… and start over. I was upset, to say the least.”
Christan said the drill mechanic that was running the rig reported to her that he’d push it, and see what would happen.
“He (the drill mechanic) said, miraculously, we continued on another 40 meters to be able to get where we needed to be. He said, ‘The only way I can explain it was that it was a miracle from God.”’
When the drill team started test-pumping water, Christan noticed that people started to line up for the potential of clean water.
“There were lines wrapped around the corner… the block… of women and children waiting for water,” Christan noted.
This shows, she remarked, how impactful it will be when it is running and accessible.
With its Biblically based name, 28Bold stands out from other organizations in the way that Christan conducts business. The name originally came from Proverbs 28 which says “the righteous are bold as a lion.” Christan’s organization is built upon the boldness and strength of the motif of a lion. And as a Christian, helping those with less has always been one of her top priorities, and that reflects on the selflessness of her business model.
Meanwhile, she is aware that she is neither infallible nor all-knowing. In order to maintain balance, Christan is adamant about listening to the communities she is helping. Rather than speaking over them or assuming, she approaches every situation with an open mind. As a visitor to a foreign country, she tries to take an empathetic perspective to the work she does.
“I have to think, what do they want? What is their goal?” Christan added.
Christan is aware of her American-ness in other countries, and she finds that approaching other cultures with an open heart is the best way to achieve success. Listening and understanding to the needs of the community, Christan feels, is the only option when working across cultural barriers.
Bold, courageous, and empathetic, Christan continues to work toward accessible clean water in Kenya and other countries in Africa. If you would support Christan’s mission in providing clean water solutions to Kenya and other African countries, click here.
You’re Part of the Equation
At Connect for Water, supporting and sharing stories like Christan’s is part of our mission. As a member of our network, you’re already on board with our mission. Continue to share and read these inspiring water stories, as they’re the link between you and water-needing communities. If you’d like to take on a mission of your own, there are several ways to help through Connect for Water. Visit our giving page to find the right option for you and help us help others.