Help Needed for Well Repair

Jackson Liaram sent us photos of the damage a strong storm did last week. The solar panels that provided the energy to pump well water were knocked completely out. Today we found that the damages will cost US $9,000.00. Returning to drinking water that resembles chocolate milk is simply not an option. Please send donations directly through the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, which provided initial funding and we promise the money goes directly into secure bank accounts here and in Kenya, both maintained by people we know and trust. Please specify “Kenya” if you donate. Checks mailed to UUCF also welcome.

I want to note contributions from Rotary Clubs in Maryland and the Rotary Foundation and from individual donors were crucial and provided most of the funding to dig the well. All help welcome whether you know of our outreach to the people of this remote Kenyan village or are new to our website. Many thanks to all!



Through Dig This Well, Rotary International and local clubs (Fredericktowne, Leonardtown, Lexington Park & Prince Frederick, MD) and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick dug a well to provide the villagers of Oltorotua, Kenya, with clean water. Oltorotua is an isolated village in the Maasai Mara bush. Six of us, both Rotarians & UUCF members, happily traveled to attend the February 2015 well dedication and life in the village was much improved, with more time for women to make and sell the famous Maasai bead work.

Jackson Liaram, safari guide and junior elder, now reports COVID-19 is not a major problem but food is. Tourism from outside the country no longer exists and, unlike the US, Kenyans travel little within their developing country. If you possibly can spare a small contribution, please visit Villagers drink milk from their cattle but desperately need staples (vegetables, beans, rice, soap, etc.). $2000/month feeds the roughly 200 people of Oltorotua. That is only $10 per person/month.

To assure the money gets where needed, UUCF transfers donations directly to the village account. To donate:
Mail a check to UUCF, 4880 Elmer Derr Road, Frederick MD 21703 —or—
Visit the UUCF Donation Page. Insert donation amount and specify KENYA.

Many thanks for any help, no matter how small.

During this holiday season, may you be well, happy, and peaceful.
In Maa, the language of the Maasai: Tobiko esupat, tenchipai o tosotua.


Fluorine filters for Oltorotua wells!

Jackson Liaram sent the photos below today. The well was dug and dedicated, or commissioned, as it’s called in Kenya, in 2015 but the filters just arrived. Here are photos Jackson sent. Now the village has drinking water that is both clean and pure and also does not have excess fluoride. I’m definitely not a scientist but I do know a little fluoride is good, a lot not so good.

Again, thanks to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick, Rotary International, Rotary Clubs of MD District 7620, and especially Rotary members of Leonardtown (YEA for Steve King!) and Fredericktowne.


Help for Oltorotua

Jackson Liaram sent these two short videos to introduce us to the village of Oltorotua and show how the village uses our money to help them cope in this time of COVID-19. With no income from tourism, Oltorotua is working through a very difficult time.


A post from Bob Ladner

Oltorotua is a village of about 200 in the Maasai Mara in Kenya. UUCF has had a connection to Oltorotua since 2007. Together with Rotary, we helped the villagers dig a well. This allowed the girls to go to school instead of walking miles to get unsafe water. A delegation from UUCF went to the dedication of the well in 2015.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a crisis to Oltorotua. Most of the men worked in tourism, either as game guides or in the small safari hotels. All of the hotels are closed and there are no tourists. Food is available, if money ($500/week) is available. IT IS POSSIBLE THE ECONOMIC DEPRESSION WILL KILL MORE PEOPLE THAN COVID-19! Jane and I want to feed this village until the world is sane again. We would welcome contributions from others. You can (1) mail a check to UUCF or (2) go to our website and click To DONATE Click Here. Indicate “Dig this well” or Oltorotua.

Our job now is to keep the villagers alive so they can drink the water!


Welcome (or Welcome Back) to DIG THIS WELL!

Jambo! This is the traditional Swahili greeting visitors to Kenya hear often, whether your first trip or a visit many times repeated. “Jambo” seems especially appropriate here because some of you visited our Dig This Well! website about 15 years ago and some of you are new. 

My name is Mary Bowman-Kruhm. While on a 2004 safari, my husband, Carl, and I were impressed with the Kenyan people, and told our tour guide that, as educators, we didn’t want to change anyone’s culture but please contact us if we could contribute to the education of a worthy young person. That comment led us to Jackson Liaram, whom we supported as he became a safari guide. Jackson has always been dedicated to both helping his Maasai people and protecting the environment. When we returned for a second trip in 2008 we visited his Oltorotua village and realized the women walked, huge containers on their backs, up to 10 miles a day for water. 

Led by Steve King, Leonardtown Rotary, and with help from the Rotary Foundation, Nakuru-Great Rift Valley (Kenya) and District 7620 (MD) Rotary Clubs, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Frederick and many friends, a well was eventually dug. Representatives from several Maryland Rotary clubs and UUCF attended the dedication on February 14, 2015. Wonderful event!

Those of us who visited Kenya in 2015 planned a return trip this summer and were inviting others to join us. Then COVID-19 halted our present lives. Jackson has been in touch because, just as our lives in the US are now very different, so is life in Oltorotua, with no tourism and their food supply chain disrupted. Fluoride filters are also needed for each house, since a little is good for bones but a lot, as in the well’s water, is not only bad but eventually crippling.

Right now, led by Bob and Jane Ladner, UUCF is able to handle their immediate food needs and Steve is progressing with the filters, but we are resurrecting this website to let you know the situation and, if need be, to have in place the mechanism to support our Liaram family and friends.

May you be well, happy, and peaceful. In Maa, the language of the Maasai: Tobiko esupat, tenchipai o tosotua.