BY MELISSA ROLLINS
Morning News email@example.com
FLORENCE — What a difference clean water can make. That simple statement was the takeaway for two Florentines as they reflected on their recent trip to Ghana.
Husband and wife Barry and Carrington Wingard took the twoweek trip in conjunction with Rotary International. They were joined by Rotarians from around the United States as well as several non-Rotary spouses. The purpose of the trip was to see the work that had been completed working alongside local clubs in Ghana and to look for other areas that need help. The Wingards said the trip touched them in an undeniable way.
“I always wanted to go on a trip to Africa, a vacation, to see all the animals,” Carrington said. “I did see some animals, mostly elephants, but the thing I took away was how resourceful the people there are. It makes you feel kind of ashamed of the way we live, where we just throw so many things away.”
Carrington found an example of that ingenuity waiting for her one day when she got her mail. A rice bag had been recycled as an envelope, turned inside out, and used to send them the hand-woven baskets they had purchased on their trip.
Among the places that the
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Carrington Wingard pumps water from a well purchased by members of a Rotary club during a trip to Ghana in February.
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Wingards’ group visited were schools and hospitals all across the country. It was there that they saw first hand the difference clean water can make to the local people and their community.
“One of the last schools we went to, it was in Sunyani,” Carrington said. “They selected one little girl to read a statement. She was thanking us for the borehole, and I was thinking, ‘What American child would thank people for water?’ It was just incredible.” At that particular school, the Wingards said, there was a well not too far away, but because it was across a four-lane highway, students could not get to it safely.
Barry explained that simply by having a well that is accessible, a child’s chances of going to school increased greatly. Instead of walking all day to get water, a mother could work and use that money to give their child a better future.
With Rotary International and the local clubs in Ghana working together, the Wingards said that it is easier to know what type of equipment is suitable for certain areas, but they also know that the religious difference, when people have a common goal, it works. These Rotary groups are not there with their hands out; they are there to help the less fortunate.” Earlier this year, the World Health Organization announced that it would be certifying Ghana as a Guinea worm-free country. The parasite thrives in unclean water and is not only very dangerous for anyone infected with it but also very painful. Barry said it feels really great knowing that he is part of a group that was part of ridding Ghana of the terrible worm.
The experiences the Wingards had on the trip made a lasting impact. Barry said he is interested in the possibility of working with Rotary Clubs in South Carolina to sponsor a borehole in Ghana.
A sign in Ghana identifies a well that was made possible by Rotary International.
borehole and well will be taken care of long term because the people take pride in making a difference in their village.
The dynamic of the Ghanaian clubs also fascinated the Wingards.
“Three of the four Rotary Clubs we visited had Christian and Muslim members,” Barry said. “It validated what I believed for a long time, that regardless of cultural or