One of the Best Days of My Life

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Mark Oestreicher

Several years ago, I was part of developing a sister program to the 30 Hour Famine, called One Life Revolution, focused on youth groups raising funds for AIDS orphans in Zambia. Today I was scrolling through some old photos and came across this photo from one of the best days of my life:

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Seeing the photo brought back all sorts of deep memories, mostly of the hope I experienced with the Zambian villagers as the water gushed out of their new well. I remembered that I’d journaled about the experience, and dug that up. Thought I’d share it with you amazing 30 Hour Famine leaders. This is the sort of impact we who participate in the Famine get to be a part of!

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I have so much to write about (and must, for my own reflection), but only have 6 minutes left on my time in the business center of the hotel, here in Lusaka, Zambia.

Today, 7 American youth workers and I traveled to the Kapalulwe ADP to visit a variety of ways the funds we’ve raised have been spent. Here’s one story:

We went to a small village; and when we pulled up, the old men and women of the village were waiting for us, singing and dancing. They lead us (still singing and dancing) to a house built with money we’d raised for a widow with 12 kids (not all hers). Then we followed them for a long walk (with lots more people joining us along the way) to their new clean-water well, which was built with more of the money we’d raised. They had decorated the well with flowers, and little strips of a cassette tape (which looked kind of like garland, or “icicles” on a Christmas tree). There was a fence around it, and the opening had a ribbon across it with flowers on it. Next to the actual pump was a monument, covered in cloth. After several formalities, they had me come up and join the village “elder” (who talked about drinking clean water for the first time in his life from this well), who handed me scissors to cut the ribbon. I asked if he would do it with me, and we held the scissors together (later, we heard they were “the village scissors”), and cut the ribbon to much cheering. Then, we went over and removed the cloth, which was covering a very nice plaque that said, “Donated by One Life Revolution, USA” or something like that. The old guy and I ceremonially pumped the well together (more cheers); then our whole team took turns. It turned into a big party, with the women teaching many of us how to carry water jugs on our heads (more cheers, lots of laughter). It really was an amazing experience, full of hope and joy!