Thursday, June 30, 2005

An 82 Year Old Man

The other day at work I met an 82 year old man who happens to own a few shares in the company. He's been residing of late in Africa and was in town for a quick visit, so he popped in to see the CEO right around coffee time, and I am so much richer for getting to sit with him in the coffee room and hear his stories of what he's been doing in Kenya.

This is a very unassuming man. I'm not sure what he did for a living earlier in his life, but from things he's said in passing, I think he worked with farmers. He's lived in Ontario and Saskatchewan, and then he and his wife retired to B.C. Unfortunately, his wife passed away a few years ago. When she was alive they had always wanted to go and work in Africa, but he says "the doors were never opened."

Well a couple of years ago, this man went on a tour over there, and he's been there ever since. He talks in a disheartened manner of all the NGO's that we hear of and support and how they really do little there to help reduce poverty...that little of the money actually gets to the people who need it. He has an obvious passion to see these families be able to get out of the cycle of poverty.

One of the things that struck him the most was their need for water. You would never have a farm here without a well so he started finding ways to help groups of farmers build wells. On a sabatical trip back to B.C. a while ago, he says he was praying for specific incite of how to find water for these people and not waste effort on dry holes. He believes the Holy Spirit lead him to his closet, and within a few minutes he had fashioned these two "L" shaped tools. He lifted them up to show us and then he walked around our coffee room. The two rods would stay apart as he walked and then suddenly they crossed over each other (without his hands directing them to). At that point he said, "there's a stream here". He then asked the rods how far down the water was and they counted out the feet. He said that he knows they look like silly rods, but that he believes they are talking to him and that it's been incredible how accurate they have been in finding water for these people. To date he has been part of the construction of over 300 shallow wells. (By the way, he also passed the rods over two glasses of water - one with 10 grains of salt in it and one without. The rods crossed themselves only over the unsalted water, further showing the accuracy of his tool.)

This man not only helps the people he works with find water, he's taught them how to come together and help each other. He'll get three farmers working together to construct wells for each other so it costs less, and he's taught them to sell their rice from one day's meal in the market each week (and eat vegetation that day) to save up for the tools needed. He's still working out a way to get the cost of tools down, he says.

I was amazed by this man's stories and the pictures I saw. Then someone else asked him the exact question that was on my heart. "How do you finance your work? I mean, do you have the covering of any church or organization?" The answer was "no". He does not have the covering of any organization. He finances himself.

I was touched by this man...by his stories, his example, his heart and his faith. That was the best thing that happened at work this week:)

1 comment:

Lesa said...

I have always wanted to travel to Kenya...this story truly touched my heart. If you ever find out if this man has an address...I would love to help him with his efforts.