Anne Okelo graduated from West Chester University in May of 2010 with a masters degree in non profit administration. If you were to meet her you would see a warm smile and sense a kind heart. But behind those eyes there is a story of a young girl who received “two strokes” virtually every day for being late to school in her small village of Angiro, Kenya and suffered many other injustices. For Anne life was “very, very hard.” For one thing she had the job of walking 8 miles most mornings to retrieve a bucket of river water for the family to use for the day. Because of the scarcity of water she often had to stand in line once she got there and that would make her late to school which earned her an almost daily beating.
At one point in her youth, Anne was an outcast because she refused to get married at age 14 as was expected of her. She said she observed girls her age getting married and having many children. The husbands had many wives and AIDS was prevalent which often lead to an early death. She did not want that and she believed that her only way out was to focus on her education. Anne did that and she went on to graduate from the University of Nairobi and more recently earned a masters degree from West Chester University.
After graduating from West Chester Anne began to share her desire to return to her village and have a fresh water well installed. Over a period of six months and with the help and support of many wonderful people and new friends, Anne was able to raise the $35,000 needed and on Christmas Eve of 2010 a solar powered well was installed in the village of Angiro, Kenya. Just a few days ago, Anne gave us the good word that for the first time there have been no cholera deaths. The village generally loses 13-15 people a year to cholera but with the new well, health conditions have improved substantially.
Anne has also told us that with the water, people are now growing crops which means they don’t have to buy very much. Anne’s mother lives in the village and we hear that she is growing all of her own vegetables and is healthier than she has been in years.
Cindy Speaker, president of Speaker Films, met Anne when she was working on raising money for the well and the two ladies became fast friends. In early 2011 Anne’s journey took another major turn and it was at that time that Cindy asked Anne if she and her team could do a documentary of Anne’s story. We don’t want to tell you too much more but the documentary is currently in production.
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