Over the past month, CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler has been busy in the field with our staff in Senegal, providing support, guidance, and discussions on further program development. He and the team have had a lot on their plate during the last few weeks – preparing to partner with new communities, supporting ongoing projects, and participating in the graduation ceremony of the village of Diender.

CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler in Santhie

During Barry’s visit, he provided some installation assistance with the solar-powered pump in the village of Santhie, in Senegal’s hot, dry Louga region. Having year-round access to clean, abundant water here will revolutionize the community’s ability to grow food in the dry season.

As summer approaches, the conditions in rural Senegal become increasingly harsh. “All last week, the daily temperatures were 106 – 110 degrees F, cooling off to 93 at about 7pm!” Barry writes. “But our staff and the beneficiaries in all locations persevere every day, with the twice daily watering of all the beds in their respective gardens, early in the morning and in the late afternoon.”

CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler at the Diender graduation

At Diender’s graduation ceremony, guests including local community leaders, government authorities, and beneficiaries, toured the garden site and appreciated the incredible work that the community has done to achieve self-sufficiency and sustainability.

One of the highlights of Barry’s visit was the graduation ceremony of Diender, which officially graduated last year, but had not yet held its ceremony. Diender holds a special milestone as the very first partner community where CREATE! technicians installed a solar-powered pumping system for their well in 2011. “Water has been pumping continuously there ever since, providing abundant water year-round for their expanded garden site from their deep and rehabilitated well,” says Barry. “Congratulations to the group and community of Diender — and to our many dedicated field staff over the years under CREATE! Country Director Omar Ndiaye Seck’s excellent direction and supervision.”

CREATE! Founder Barry Wheeler with Communications Assistant Ndeye Fatou Sow

Barry, pictured above with CREATE! Communications Assistant Ndeye Fatou Sow, congratulated the staff, technicians, and beneficiaries on their excellent work in Diender at the graduation ceremony.

Barry has returned to the US this week, but notes that the trip was both energizing and productive, especially in terms of collaboration with the field staff. The days were long and very busy, he reported, “but we always accomplish a lot as we review and critique our program successes and challenges in each location, sharing ideas and enjoying a robust cross-fertilization of ideas.”

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