Most of us take clean water for granted, having never lived for long without instant access to warm showers and cool drinks from free-flowing taps. To the 550 people of Behwalay, Liberia, though, easily accessible clean water is a luxury that seems almost unimaginable, given that the nearest source of any water is an hours-long walk that must be made every day. With the help of UMMS medical students of Kelley House, the fate of the Behwalay residents may soon change.
The students are partnering with African Community Education (ACE) to raise money to construct a well that will serve a clinic and the community of Behwalay. ACE is a non-profit organization co-founded by UMass Medical School alum Olga Valdman, MD, when she was a student, and Catholic Charities refugee resettlement case worker Kaska Yawo, a Liberian immigrant who is originally from Behwalay.
Flowers available for order
“The Kelley House leadership team thinks of Thanksgiving as a great opportunity to appreciate what we have, but also to also reach out and help those without the same resources,” said Kelley House chair Anne Barnard, MS2.
Kelley House is holding a Thanksgiving Flower Sale this month. Flowers can be ordered online and picked up in person in the hospital cafeteria between Monday, Nov. 21, and Wednesday, Nov. 23. Some flowers will also be available for sale during the pick-up times, but quantities are limited and ordering in advance is recommended.
“When one of our great Kelley representatives, Lynne Fiore, MS1, learned about this project through Mick Godkin and the Multicultural Pathway that she’s involved with, we quickly decided that we wanted to help,” said Barnard. “We’re hoping that we can bring some joy to the UMMS community with the flowers, while simultaneously helping the people of Behwalay get access to a resource we don’t often think twice about.”