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Sephardic Community Center Takes “Innovation Africa” Trip

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SCC Young Adults at Entebbe Airport, famously known for the Israeli Defense Forces' "Operation Thunderbolt."

By: Rose Sabbagh

Three flights, twenty people, and the anticipation of the unknown. Huge smiles, tears of joy, speechless communication, and bonding over humanity’s most basic necessity. The journey we experienced was life changing and taught us how much more one receives when they give. The Sephardic Community Center helped make this all possible, and for months we each took upon ourselves to raise $10,000 and worked hard to achieve our goal for a cause that we could only picture in our imaginations. Every dollar brought us closer to beginning our journey. Every meeting got us more excited to finally discover what bringing water to thousands of people in need would be like.

A demonstration by villagers as to how they used to draw water for their consumption and bathing needs, and the dangers infecting this drawing.

There are no words to describe the heartbreak we felt seeing the mud water that was all the village had ever known. There are no words to describe the feeling when another human being- someone you can’t speak to with words- holds your hand and dances thank yous your way. To hear a pregnant mother tell the story of how she lost her child to disease because of the dirty water. To know that this mother will now have clean water for her baby. That she will no longer have to worry that her new baby will suffer or get sick. To know that we provided that relief is life changing.

The Jewish community of Putti in their newly constructed synagogue by iAfrica. After praying Shaharit, we partook in the installation of the synagogue’s mezuzot.

The Bumayi villagers welcomed us in song and in cheerful spirits. The gratitude they expressed is inexplicable. Their happiness was simple and contagious. They welcomed strangers and celebrated a new chapter of their lives with us. With ripped clothing and bare feet, they danced with us. They cheered, “we are happy so that you can be happy.” They embraced our presence and thanked us with all their hearts. They thanked Israel- a country that they would have otherwise never heard of. It was a celebration of human love and new beginnings. We turned to each other- to the people we once only knew by name and face- and realized what we have done together. That we have changed and saved lives and that our lives will never be the same because of it.

The initial bursts of clean water made possible by the water pump our trip brought and

We visited a prospective village that is currently living with an unsafe dirty water source, and even though we were not providing them with clean water they welcomed us. They smiled and sang and hoped for a better future. We hope to bring that better future to them one day. We hope to continue to share our good fortune and give back to the world that has made us so lucky. Thank you to everyone who donated and helped us make this possible. We know that this is just the beginning of the changes that our community is going to make in the world.

The members of the Sephardic Community Center were taken aback by the gratitude of the students at the Bukalika primary school
The water pump we sponsored, now serving Bumayi, and surrounding villages with clean water.
One of four communal faucets being opened, introducing the concept of plumbing and clean running water to the people of Bumayi for the first time.
Final installation of Lwaboba Day School’s solar panels, now allowing students to enjoy the benefits of electricity, enlightenment and illumination.
Unveiling of the Bumayi water pump. From left to right, Center CEO, Joey Tawil, Trip Organizers, Allen Shalam & Tina Cohen, trip coordinator Sari Setton, CEO & Founder of Innovation Africa, Sivan Yaari
The welcoming wishes of sangala by the Bumayi villagers.

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