10-year-old helps bring a well to Tanzania

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

By Katie Scarvey
Hannah Safrit was 7 when she became aware that some children weren’t able to just walk into a kitchen and get water from a faucet if they were hungry.
Instead, they might have to go to a dirty lake for their water, and sometimes, they would die from drinking contaminated water.
She knew she wanted to do something to help.
After talking to her parents about it, she realized that she could take action, so she began to raise money, with the goal at some point being to build a well in Africa.
Her parents, Greg and Charlea Safrit, helped her set up a bank account and called it “Hannah’s Well.”
Hannah donated her own money. Her brother Sam also donated some of his money.
Her grandmother, Barbara Brown, remembers Hannah coming to her in tears, saying, “We’ve got to help.
“She was sincere,” Barbara remembers.
Hannah went to churches to get more donations, including the one she attends, The Refuge, which meets in Concord and in Salisbury at Tinseltown Theatre. She got donations from Metro Worship Center in Kannapolis and Messiah Lutheran Church in Salisbury, among others.
“She just poured her heart into it,” Greg says. The money began to add up, and the interest added up as well.
When the family went to church last Saturday to hear some missionaries speak, there was $2,300 in the Hannah’s Well account.
When the Safrits heard Carol and Ron McDonald speak, and talk about the need for a well where they live in Zanzibar, Tanzania, they felt it was the right time to sow the money that Hannah had raised.
Although Hannah’s original goal was to raise $4,800, they learned from Carol and Ron that the money Hannah had already raised would pay for the installation of a well in Tanzania.
And so on Tuesday, Hannah presented a check to Carol and Ron, who founded a non-profit organization called CHaRA — Construction Health and Relief Acts. They money will be used to drill and install a 90-foot hand-pump well, which will draw water from the aquifer of Kilimanjaro.
The well will be on church property, Ron points out, and will serve as evidence to the local community, which is largely Islam, that the Christian church cares about the people there.
Ron and Carol have been living and working in Zanzibar, Tanzania since 1999.
Ron and Carol work with the local people, missionaries and the government to help improve health care and schools.
They return to their home in Kannapolis for three months a year, when they fill a large container with donated medical equipment and supplies to the Zanzibar islands.
Tuesday, Ron showed Hannah a bucket of water that weighed more than 44 pounds and explained to her that children her age would have to balance these on their heads and walk for several miles to provide water for their families.
Ron and Carol met the Safrits on Tuesday, along with the pastor of The Refuge, to film an inspirational segment for the church about how Hannah is making a difference in thousands of lives in Tanzania.
“What she’s doing for Tanzania is amazing,” Carol said.
“Little girls your age can go to school now because they don’t have to haul water,” she told Hannah.
Greg and Charlea are proud of their daughter.
“She’s always been extra-sensitive about caring for people,” Greg says, “and quick to pray for people.”
The Safrits recently discovered that Hannah’s great grandmother, Ruby Martin of China Grove, had always dreamed of becoming a missionary to Africa but wasn’t able to. Hannah’s connection to a mission in Africa has special meaning to her.
Hannah herself is now considering becoming a missionary to Africa when she grows up — “possibly Tanzania,” she says.
For now, though, she can be happy that 3,000 people will have fresh water, thanks to her efforts.