What seemed like a short distance to begin with quickly became a gruelling, smelly trek for Salmon Arm school students walking to raise money to build wells in Tanzania.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24, students from Hillcrest Elementary, Shuswap Middle School and King’s Christian School gathered in the parking lot at South Broadview Elementary for the fundraising event. Involved was a 345-metre walk from the school’s parking lot to the pond by the Okanagan College Salmon Arm campus, where staff and volunteers would fill buckets carried by students with foul smelling water. Students then carried their buckets – several without lids – back to the school where the buckets were emptied and returned to the students to repeat the experience as many times as the could over the course of an hour.
“Many people… in many parts of the world have to travel long distances to get clean water… Some kids and women have to walk for hours to get water,” teacher Janu Smith commented to the participating students before their walk began.
Many of the students arriving at the pond for their first haul were surprised by the smell of the water.
“Remember guys, this is cleaner than the water you’d actually get,” said teacher Earl Dodds as he helped to fill buckets from the pond.
Some of the students with larger buckets carried them on their heads, others in their arms, as they made the journey back up hill to the school.
“My very first bucket, my back is already starting to hurt, especially after walking… this is my second hill. So heavy,” said a strained Amber Potter working on her first bucket.
In the end, the students raised $5,768. A chunk of that money, Smith explained, will go to the organization Free The Children, which will use the money to build wells in Tanzania. And some of the money will be kept for local projects, to be decided upon by district leadership students.
“They will offer a grant to elementary schools who participated in raising money this year,” said Smith, explaining elementary school students will apply to put the money towards a local project. He said in the past South Broadview applied to use the money to support a local foodbank, with students going to Askew’s to pick up the food and deliver it themselves.