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Exciting news from a boring project

A borehole gave this community something more than health: it offered them a shot at unity. And BMS World Mission supporters helped them find it.

The deadlock seemed hopeless. Two factions in the village in rural Uganda could not agree on where to dig a borehole, and their disagreement had gone on so long that the BMS team who had come to the village with a limited window for drilling (also called ‘boring’) were worried that they would have to leave without finding clean, healthy water – so essential for community health and flourishing in places like rural Uganda.

The BMS team visit rural villages and dig boreholes which provide clean water for whole communities.

BMS and local partners had arrived in the morning to consult with the community about where the borehole they had requested should be dug, and it had taken all day to come to an answer, one that half the village was less than pleased with. When the well failed to reach good water, BMS worker Tim Darby decided that it would be best to come back the following day, hoping for more agreement – otherwise he and the drilling team would have to move on to another village.

The drilling project Tim helps to run is an innovative one, spending some of its time on commercial drilling (a kind of ‘business as mission’), which helps to fund the free well-boring that this village was so close to missing out on. They couldn’t stay in the village forever, as Uganda has a great deal of need for safe, clean drinking water.


A BMS-supported team ran tests on three local water sources: stream water, an existing borehole, and a borehole that they built. The right-hand dish contains water from the borehole and is completely clean.

When the team returned, they expected to find the community in much the same state as the day before. But instead, they found optimism, helpfulness. Unity. The village had met the night before and decided on a completely new drill site – miles away from the sites that had been in dispute. They told BMS water engineer Tim: “We knew that the other place would not work because we were not united. But now we know you will find water.” The team began digging in the morning, and they did! By the evening they had installed a handpump – a new record time for Tim and his team.

This is something that Tim sees regularly in his work: communities coming together over their collective need for clean water. Because when Tim and his team dig boreholes, they’re not just providing water. They’re encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles by making water easier to access. They’re protecting people from waterborne diseases such as cholera and E. coli. They’re freeing up time in the day for people, especially women and girls, who previously had to walk for hours every day to dirty water sources. And they’re doing it in a sustainable way, making the drills they operate pay, both for the good of the local environment and for the community. As Tim puts it: “Every single borehole changes and improves lives.”

This isn’t water as charity, pumped into a community that Tim thinks needs it. It’s a process of consultation with local people, asking them what they need and how they would like to receive it, engaging them and involving them so that communities, with a little help from BMS, can give themselves hope. Now that’s far from boring!


The boreholes dug by Tim’s team encourage local communities to work together to maintain them.

After this handpump was installed, a committee of nine people elected from the local community were trained for two days to manage the borehole. The rest of the community were also offered training on good sanitary health. They were taught how to keep the pump safe and clean, but also to care for and depend on one another to keep the borehole working.
Water is a basic need and a fundamental right. If we all work together, with respect and generosity, all people could have access to it. Pray with us today that this would happen.
Tim’s team have already provided many communities with clean water. But there are still people in Uganda and around the world whose water sources are limited or unsafe. Please pray today for:

  • Communities in Uganda without access to clean water. Pray for good health among them, and that they will soon be able to drink without danger.
  • Tim and his team as they bore wells for rural communities. Pray that their work goes smoothly, and that people will soon see the benefits.
  • Villages who have already received boreholes. Pray that they are able to safely maintain them in years to come, and that they will experience unity in their communities.

This story was originally published on the BMS World Mission website and is used with permission

BMS World Mission, 30/04/2019
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