Pressing Needs Bring Man Back To Kenyan Village

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Daryl Oft, president of Diversified Solutions of Payson and Globe, has returned to Kenya where he and others are continuing the mission work of the Living Waters program.

The mission is to bring water to several villages on Rusinga Island in Lake Victoria and purify it.

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With the 2006 completion of the repairs and installation to their water system, the residents of the village of Kawswanga had fresh drinking water for the first time in more than three years.

He and his wife, Mary Jo, first visited the area in 2005 as part of a global evangelism effort.

Oft returned to Africa in 2006 with Shawn Simmons. Together, with volunteers from the village, they repaired the water delivery system and installed a filtration system, donated by Payson resident Randy Roberson's Humanitarian Emergency Logistic Preparedness program.

They also helped put in a pilot irrigation system and deliver medical supplies.

With the 2006 completion of the repairs and installation, the residents of the village of Kawswanga had fresh drinking water for the first time in more than three years.

The water technicians who operated the old system had either died of AIDS or left the area.

Drought had lowered the level in Lake Victoria, so the pipes for the system no longer reached the water source.

The initial work served only the one small village. There are other villages on the island, totaling 10,000 residents, all with similar problems.

Returning to Kenya last week, Oft and others with the project discovered heavy rains had damaged the water lines and pump of the windmill. So, once again, the only water available is what can be carried by hand or donkey from the lake, and none of it is purified.

Drinking polluted water from lake has made many of the Kawswanga people suffer from serious diseases.

So, the number one priority of the current trip is to get the windmill operational again and then focus on getting the purification systems running.

The purification system works by means of breaking down salt molecules. The process produces three byproducts -- chlorine gas, which purifies the water as the gas is introduced into the flow; bleach, which is used to disinfect the water containers used by the villagers; and lye, which is used to disinfect the primitive latrines.

Once the water systems are operating correctly, Oft will set up a bank account where funds will be deposited and directed to the appropriate overseers of the many children orphaned by AIDS. Approximately 80 percent of the children on the island have lost their parents to the epidemic, Oft said.

With a bank account established, those wishing to help with the care of the orphans can make direct contributions.

Living Waters is also working to get a container of donations released from Kenyan customs.

The container was shipped from New Zealand and is being held for tariff money. A waiver through Lions International was obtained for the container, but apparently this was not sufficient, Oft said.

The container holds a tractor, windmill, clothing and irrigation supplies. It represents the culmination of almost two years' effort by a New Zealand group supporting the Living Waters project.

Oft has extended his stay to try and solve the most pressing problems of the project. He is expected to return to Payson March 11.

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