(Photo: Lifewater International)
Indianapolis Colts offensive linebacker Seth Olsen recently returned from his first trip to Uganda, where he saw how God is using his people to provide physical and spiritual water to villagers.
Olsen just returned from a 10-day trip to the Alyet Village in northern Uganda, where he witnessed first-hand how his donation to Lifewater International is helping to prevent a wide range of problems, from diseases to kidnapping.
The 6-foot, 4-inch, 305-pound football player is a benefactor of Lifewater International, a non-profit Christian organization that helps improve water, sanitation and hygiene for people in some of the poorest regions in the world.
"I thought I was well informed of the situation, but I realized I didn't know till I was there to see the extreme poverty," Olsen told The Christian Post on Thursday. "They drink out of a dirty water source, and to think that someone drinks out of this and would not get sick is crazy."
Before the water well in Alyet Village, villagers had to walk five kilometers to obtain drinking water, which for the most part was contaminated with diseases that would likely spread throughout the village, including diarrhea and hepatitis.
Also, by having a closer water supply, women are at lesser risk of unexpected dangers such as assaults and kidnappings, and children are able to attend school on a regular basis because they no longer need to walk long distances to fetch unsanitary water.
"God is moving in this country," Olsen said. "It was so great to see the kids so happy with big smiles lighting up on their faces."
During his trip, Olsen spent time with children in the village, including playing soccer with them.
"They had no real soccer ball and made their own out of plastic bags with water in them," Olsen recalled.
He goes on to share that the children were very creative with what little they had and it was the little things that put smiles on their faces.
"It was a very exciting trip for me. I had never been to Uganda and I was able to see firsthand what Lifewater does and how they were able to teach sanitation and hygiene to the people living in the village," said Olsen, who began supporting Lifewater two years ago while playing for the Denver Broncos. "It's very important to teach those things to people and provide them with the appropriate training."
Lifewater and partner Divine Waters Uganda will complete in June their three-year project to develop safe water supplies for more than 66,000 Ugandans in nearly 200 villages. Divine Waters Uganda focuses on providing the village with the education and knowledge of sanitation and hygiene, while Lifewater trains volunteers in well drilling, while also teaching villagers about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
"We want our efforts to be self-sustaining. So instead of just offering aid, such as going in and digging a well, we train local groups like Divine Waters Uganda to do the work that we do using the resources they have," Joe Haribson, Lifewater's CEO, said in a statement.
After his trip to Uganda, Olsen now hopes to spread the word about the Christian charity, "[The trip] really impacted me. I asked myself how I could have an impact on others and I didn't have an answer. I had some great one-on-one time with God where there were no forced distractions, and He put this issue on my heart and it impacted me greatly."
Olsen also added, "I want people to be aware of this issue because it's important to the rest of the world. It's the gift of life that comes with knowing Jesus Christ."
Lifewater's holistic efforts have seen significant impact in improving the water sanitation conditions in not only Uganda, but in over 40 countries, and affecting over 2 million people.
For more information on Seth Olsen's excursion, visit: sethrolsen.wordpress.com
On the web: www.lifewater.org