Published in July 2022

Sand Dams Worldwide (SDW) expeditions are high points of my year. It’s always inspiring to meet men and women from a local community who have come together to plan and build a sand dam. I find the enthusiasm of the local workers and the volunteers infectious. Members of the expedition not only put in hard graft, they also get to learn about a different country which is facing the hard realities of climate change and water poverty.

So, you can imagine my disappointment when, after a break of two years because of the global pandemic, I caught COVID which meant I had to miss last month’s long planned expedition. Rather than travelling to Nairobi to meet a new team of volunteers I found myself confined to home and having to imagine all that I was missing.

Luckily, we have a team of talented staff at SDW who can deal with unplanned events like this. Even though she had not been on an expedition before, Sarah Joseph, the Programmes and Fundraising Officer at SDW, picked up the job of leading a team of enthusiastic volunteers to work alongside the Kandu Kaseveni self-help group in southeast Kenya to help construct a sand dam which will change lives for the better.

Thanks to Jersey Overseas Aid (JOA), a long-time supporter of our work, 13 volunteers from Jersey, all from very different backgrounds and ages, joined Sarah and our partners in southeast Kenya, the Africa Sand Dam Foundation, to participate in the work of building a sand dam that will benefit community members from Machakos and Makueni counties.

The feedback from Sarah and the volunteers reminded me once again about what it means to volunteer on one of our expeditions. Lasting friendships are formed. Volunteers develop a better understanding of what it means to live with water poverty. They are inspired by the determination and hard work of local people and, simply by being there working alongside the local team, help to inspire the local community. The feedback from one of the June 2022 volunteers says it all, Beth Lusby said:

“If you’re thinking about doing an expedition, do it! It doesn’t matter your strength, your ability. Everyone will take something away from it. I know that I’m going to go home and beg my family members and friends to do it, because there’s so much you learn that you probably didn’t realise you needed to learn. You’ll come out a very different person, and I can guarantee a better person for it.”

Being part of one of our sand dam expeditions is a life changing experience. If you are interested just email [email protected]. It could change your life.

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