- Associated Press - Sunday, July 20, 2014

HENDERSON, Ky. (AP) - The usually poised Addie Farley was a little nervous.

The day in June had arrived for her to deliver 300 personal water filtration straws (“life straws”), 25 family dwelling filters and four community water filters to the village of Kankoole in Uganda.

But the Henderson County High School student on her sixth mission trip to the East African village jumped in with both feet, just as she did last year when she set the goal of raising the $8,000 to purchase the water purification devices.

“It didn’t go exactly as I’d planned,” Farley said, explaining that she’d expected to visit homes to help install the family units and individually show the people how to use them.

Instead the families - more than she had filters for - were called to the village for an assembly to unpack, demonstrate and distribute the equipment that her dad, Jon Farley, had picked up in the Ugandan capital city of Kampala a few days before she and the rest of the mission group from Zion Baptist Church arrived.

“I was really nervous,” she said, adding that part of the anxiety came because it took a little tinkering and patience to get the filters to work for the demonstration.

But that was important, the teenager said, because she wanted to make sure the people know how to use them.

Pastor David Musitwa, founder of the Kankoole mission project, explained to her why there were so many more people than the 25 families on the list of recipients.

“I want people to see that if you work and contribute, and help and support Kankoole, you will be rewarded,” he told her.

Once the filters were demonstrated, it was time to distribute.

Then it became like “The Price Is Right,” Farley said, adding that she did feel a little bad that she didn’t have enough for every family represented.

But that didn’t seem to cause any problems.

Before the demonstration, the people on the list didn’t know exactly what they were going to receive, just that they were getting something for their support of the village school and clinic.

“When a name was called, they’d all clap,” she said. “They’d cheer for each other and hug. They were so proud and excited to get these things.”

The next step was to distribute the 300 personal life straws to the students in the school and, once again, demonstrate.

“When they heard the word ‘water’ they got really excited,” Farley said, adding that the younger students immediately put the straw’s lanyard around their necks and wore them the rest of the time she was in Kankoole. The older students stowed them in their backpacks.

“They wanted to use them right away,” she said, adding that they even tried them out in muddy puddles.

Even the packaging was a source of fascination for the schoolchildren.

“They thought it was something really special,” she said. “It was really neat to see.”

The third step was to get the community filters going, and all the teachers in the school were present for that part of the project.

“I drank so much water that day, I’m surprised I didn’t get sick,” she said.

Before her mission trip was over, she did get to visit a couple of families to see the filters present in the homes.

“I was impressed that they were so excited when the water started to filter through,” Farley said. “It is a blessing to me to be able to provide for them.”

But, she’s not finished.

On this trip, Farley visited a new village that is being supported by a church in Ohio.

This village has no well or water source, Farley said, explaining that digging a well had been part of her original goal before she settled on funding the 300 life straws and other filtration devices for Kankoole.

She’s starting to develop a fundraising plan, including possibly having a 5K Walk for Water, and said her partners at the Ohio church are planning to help with fundraisers and will also get life straws and family packs for the neighboring village.

“I’m going to start raising the money to get that well dug,” she said, adding that the cost will be about $16,000. “I think there’s something else I’m supposed to do. I’ve got to trust that God wouldn’t put it on my heart if it isn’t something I am supposed to do.”

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