January 24th

Before I tell you this story, think about all the ways we use water:

• to wash ourselves
• to drink
• to cook
• to grow plants and vegetables 
• to wash clothes, houses, streets, shops
• to care for good dogs like you and all creatures

    A young man named Ryan lives in Canada.  He was in first grade when this story starts.  He was 6-years-old. One day his teacher told his class a story. The story was about children in Africa. The children had to walk many miles every day to get water and carry it home.  Water is very heavy to carry.  Even worse, the water was dirty, but it was the only water they had.  

     Ryan’s teacher said that for $70 a well could be drilled to give people water. Ryan went home that day and asked his mom and dad for $70.  They said, “No”.  That night, Ryan couldn’t sleep.  He was thinking about people without water.  

     The next night at dinner, Ryan asked his parents for $70 again .  They said, “No” again.  That night, Ryan could not sleep. He was thinking about the children who can’t go to school because they have to work getting water every day.

     The next night Ryan asked his parents for $70 one more time.  This time they said he could work for it. So every day after school, Ryan helped wash dishes, clean the house, or help his dad in the garden.  After 4 months, Ryan earned $70.  He took the money to an organization who builds wells in Africa.  The people at the organization told Ryan that $70 was enough  money for the pump, but not a whole well.  The well cost $2000.  Ryan’s parents thought he would give up, but he didn’t.

     Ryan worked even more at home.  He helped neighbors.  He asked his parents to help him write a story for the local newspaper to see if other people would help him.  One year later, when Ryan was 7-years-old, he had earned $2000 and his well was built in Uganda.  People in Ryan’s home town gave him the money so he and his parents could fly to Uganda and see his well.

    The people in the village in Uganda welcomed Ryan like a hero. They stood on the streets and clapped.  They sang for him.  The village made Ryan their son and brother.  They told him the whole village was his family.

     Now Ryan is 22-years-old.  He  has his own organization called “Ryan’s Well”.  Ryan’s organization has dug more than 1,500 wells, built 1,300 latrines, and has helped over one million people in 16 African countries.  His dream is that all people in Africa will one day have clean water and normal access to it.  

     —Story originally found on the youth site, Newsela, and retold here.

 ©InterestEng. July 2013 - July 2021 §  The stories in the magazine portion of the site are written by English language learners. Stories are corrected by a native English speaker.  § Photos are staff photos or used with permission.  §  To contact us:  go.gently.on@gmail.com