The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Where there's a well

For as long as Ed Ekong knew, children in his home of Afaha-Ibeskpo, Nigeria, had the daily after-school chore of walking five-to-seven miles — pot or bucket in hand — to get water from a neighboring village.

Besides the physical strain, the children were often targets of rocks being thrown and verbal insults being hurled by local residents who wondered why Afaha-Ibeskpo didn't have its own water supply.

Ed now lives with is wife, Esther, and five children thousands of miles away from Nigeria in San Mateo, Calif., where there is plenty of water. But he and Esther haven't forgotten. For more than a year they saved money from their paychecks — Ed is a night security officer and Esther, a nurse. They sent $15,000 to pay for a well and a generator to pump the water up to a tank that provides clean water for thousands of people to cook, bathe or drink.

"[The well] took about six months to build," said Ed, whose family attends Hope Lutheran Church, San Mateo. "But when it was finished, it helped people a great deal."

The Ekongs never told their congregation, or anyone, about the money they were sending to Nigeria, but some of Ed's co-workers found out and insisted that his story be told to a local newspaper. Members of Hope saw the article and decided to donate $1,000 from the congregation.

"I wasn't surprised at all that they wanted to help because I have seen what they are capable of at Hope," he said.


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February issue


Embracing diversity