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Difference Made: The Anhwiam Water Pipe Initiative

Posted by Erik Mohn // January 18th 2012 // Stories and Voices, young adults // no comments

In August 2011, I traveled to Ghana, Africa on a health service volunteer trip. While on this trip, my friend, Nicholas, a student leader in a local village, took me to the village where he grew up. On the way, he explained to me that the water pipe in this village broke four years ago, and had yet to be fixed. As a result, the residents were forced to use river water for all of their needs. As you can imagine, the water is extremely unsanitary and villagers were acquiring all sorts of waterborne diseases; some even died.


While I toured the village I personally witnessed pregnant women and children drinking directly out of the river; a shocking sight for someone who has never had to think twice about whether his water is clean or not.



I was inspired by Nicholas’ commitment to his people, and I told him that I would do everything I could to help fix the pipe. Upon my return to the United States, I stayed in touch with Nicholas and began to ask him questions; the answers to which would help me formulate a plan to raise the much needed money ($2,500.)


On October 7, 2011, Nicholas died tragically in a car accident.

While I was shocked by his passing, I decided the best way to honor his life would be to fix the water pipe. I continued discussions with local community leaders in Ghana as well as a the director of Amizade, the organization through which I was able to travel to Ghana. Eventually, I had enough details to accurately share this story with others.

I wrote a letter describing the situation and my experience in the village. On November 8, 2011, I sent this letter to friends, family and co-workers asking for their support.


To my great surprise in just three weeks, we raised $2,500, and in mid December, Amizade sent a check for $2,500 to Peace Humanity International, a local NGO that agreed to facilitate the water pipe repairs/installation.


Today, only months after Nicolas’ untimely passing, I am happy to say that the water pipe has been fixed and the people are now drinking clean water.

I am honored to have been apart of this process and I thank everyone for their support. I am also freshly aware how little of an effort it can take to make a real difference in the lives of others. I encourage you to make the differences you see in your life happen too!

Thank you!

About the Author

Erik Mohn is the Young Adult Spirituality & Service Consultant at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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