Jessi Stitt heads to African to dig wells for villages

Jessi Stitt, missionary from Black Mountain tries her talent for balancing a bag of grain on her head.

Jessi Stitt of Black Mountain will spend about three weeks partnering with African communities to provide safe water sources to more than 2,800 villages in remote areas of Malawi, Zambia & Tanzania.

Stitt will arrive in Africa on Sunday, Sept. 17 for her fourth mission trip with Marion Medical Mission, headquartered in Marion, Illinois.  Thirty-six U.S. volunteers, including Marion Medical Mission's founders, will work in remote villages to help villagers have sustainable clean-water wells in areas that previously had none. The group plans to install 2,800 wells during this year’s well season.

"To see the joy on the mothers' faces when the clean water comes out of the well spout for the first time fills my heart," Stitt said. "I had a grandmother come to me and take my hands and bounce with joy. We couldn't speak the same language but we could dance!"

UNICEF reports that in sub-Sahara Africa, one in five children die before their fifth birthday because they lack potable water.  Around the globe, 663 million people rely on ponds, streams and other exposed and untreated sources for their drinking water.