UNW Alum's vision brings water and hope to Kenyan village
BY KELSEY (BLOOMQUIST '10) CAPISTRANT
Growing up in the village of Adiedo in Kenya, Africa, David Opap ’01 faced death and disease daily. With no source of clean, healthy water, Opap and his family suffered water-borne illnesses. Many died from drinking the water, including his siblings and eventually his mother.
“The only water to drink was the infested pond water that the animals would drink from and urinate in,” Opap recalls about his childhood. “My young brother and I both got sick at the same time, but [he] died and it was as if I’d been snatched from a lion’s mouth.”
Opap fell ill and became anemic. While he waited for a blood transfusion, his mother prayed, and he was miraculously healed without the transfusion. After surviving these near-death experiences, Opap believed God wanted to use him to bring hope to the people of Adiedo.
“When I reached the age when I knew between good and evil, my mama took me to a crusade where the salvation message was being preached,” said Opap. “My life has never been the same. I have continued to walk with trust and serve the Lord.”
Opap’s passion for the Gospel led him to a ministry in Nairobi. A visiting missionary told Opap about a college in Minnesota and gave him an application.
“After waiting for more than a year, I received an acceptance letter from University of Northwestern,” said Opap. “I prayed and trusted the Lord that if it was His will then there would be a way for me to attend college. I had no tuition money and no airfare saved up.”
But God worked it out and Opap arrived at Northwestern, where God prepared him to do the work he had been called to do. He returned home to Kenya for the first time in 2000, where HIV/AIDS had been added to the problem of water-borne illness.
“I was then left with a choice: either to go back to America and keep silent or come back and try to look for ways to repair my Adiedo, which was on the path of hopelessness,” said Opap.
He came back and founded Spring of Hope International, a nonprofit ministry to bring clean water to Adiedo and other parts of Africa.
In 2009, Opap’s first dream was realized when they drilled the first well in his village. Since then, Opap and a team from a church in Spokane brought solar ovens to the women in the village that would allow them to create baked goods to sell. Spring of Hope continues to expand with child sponsorship, endowment funds to promote education for the people and micro-financing for Kenyan business endeavors.
Kathy Miller, UNW Facilities Services night supervisor and board member for Spring of Hope said, “When you stop and think about the ingenuity of a person who can live on only three dollars a day…it really is amazing to see what a hardworking Kenyan can do when empowered. Spring of Hope is all about empowering people.”
For more information, visit springhope.org.