Kinesiology professor works through local church to help African villages of two students

“It’s a God thing…”

by Seth Hall

With clean water being a rarity in Central Kenya, two communities have been blessed with that life-sustaining liquid thanks to the influence of one South Plains College professor and two students.

Obtaining clean drinkable water is not something people think of when considering villages in Africa. For many, water is commonly retrieved by walking countless miles in the heat. But the struggle for clean water doesn’t end when the trip for the water is complete. The water must then go through a rigorous cleaning process to boil off diseases. 

Once it is all said and done, the small amount of water can then be used. However, there is a way to avoid this hardship for water: a water well. 

The problem with wells is often villages do not have the money or resources to build such a useful thing. But 8,964 miles away a professor at a community college in West Texa was going to help bridge the gap for two villages her students were from. 

Dee Dee Odorizzi, director of the physical education complex and associate professor of kinesiology, had been working with her church, First Christian Church in Lubbock, to build wells in Africa. When it came time to decide where the church will build the wells, Odorizzi went to Jim Evans, who is the executive minister for the church, and asked if the upcoming wells could benefit two villages where her students were from.

Alex Kitum and Dorcus Ewoi attend South Plains College, where they also are members of the track team. One of the worst issues their villages face is clean water. Kitum and Ewoi are from Suwerwa and Kapkarwa, which are neighboring villages.

“It’s a life that you and I can’t even possibly imagine,” said Odorizzi, “because not only were they having to go two miles to get water, it was dirty water. It wasn’t anything. It wasn’t like it was just what they had to do. Everything that they brought back, they had to boil.” 

  Many people in these villages often became ill due to the nature of the water they drank. When it came time to decide a well location, Odorizzi knew the wells would be a great blessing for her students and their homes. As Odorizzi sees it, the events leading up to the actual drilling were nothing short of a miracle. 

“No one will ever convince me this wasn’t a God thing,” said Odorizzi, “I had two students from remote villages on the other side of the world show up in my office at a small community college and tell me about the water needs in their communities on the exact same week that my church began raising funds to drill wells in that exact same part of the world. It was nothing short of a miracle.” 

Although many of the drillings from the church had been placed in the Turkana region of northwestern Kenya, the team from the church decided to give their crew a break from the harsh heat and choose a well in the same region where Odorizzi requested they be built. 

Sure enough, the church gave the green light for drilling and the teams went straight to work on finishing the wells. Surprisingly, the crews finished both wells in a very short time, allowing more than 2,300 people access to clean drinkable water. This is a huge life change for many people in the villages, as they can now prevent sickness and thirst from happening in their daily living.

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