"Hope" - Experiences From Rwanda By James Losi

Many years ago, Yusuf Nessary was a student in my travel aboard program sponsored by Saint Mary’s College of California.  As he studied many topics here in Rwanda, he was the student and I was the teacher.  He was the follower and I was the leader of the class.


Yusuf is now the founder of the Zam Zam Water Project.  A vision that began to percolate while he was a student here.  As I am sitting here in the audience, watching and participating in the ceremony that will dedicate a new elementary school in the Bugasera District, I have come to realize a dramatic and welcomed change in Yusuf.  As he presided over the dedication of the new Zam Zam Water Project school, I realized that I have become the student and Yusuf has become the teacher.  He has become the leader and I, the follower.

There is something indeed special about Yusuf, Zam Zam and the many volunteers and advocates that have embraced the vision and mission.  Yusuf, the mission of Zam Zam and the many volunteers possess an unrelenting passion for realizing the mission of Zam Zam under this unique veil of teamwork, selflessness and a never-ending sense of fun.  It is remarkable to witness.  It is even more remarkable to be able to participate and be a part of such an organization.

As I watched the school’s dedication with great pride in my heart, I tried to imagine what came before the new school that stood before me.  I also tried to imagine what was there before the new water wells were built.  The answer, fallow fields and a sense of hopelessness.  It’s not that the villagers were sad, it was just that they didn’t have a clear vision as to how their lives could possibly improve given their undeniable lack of access to clean water.

Zam Zam changed their lives today.  It provided them with their own supply of clean water along with a new elementary school.  The villagers’ reaction upon the dedication of the school and wells was stunning and inspiring.  They had a new found sense of hope and optimism.  It was at that moment when I listened to the singing and watched the many dancers, that I realize that Zam Zam is not in the water business.  It is in the “hope” business.

Today was a great day!  It has been a day that I shall never forget…

Become a part of the Zam Zam team and you too can bear witness to people driving hope was there was none.  It is also a great deal of fun.  Please come join us.