Bringing Rain Water Harvesting to Fair Earth Children's Village in Kasese, Uganda


We (Stephanie and Jacob) have been in Kasese, Uganda at the Fair Earth Children's Village for 3 days.  The children and staff are lovely and welcoming, and we have made a lot of progress on our rain water harvesting system installation!



The rainwater project consists of:

  • building two foundations for the water tanks,
  • putting up wooden boards on four roof lines to attach gutters to,
  • adding necessary gutter systems to these boards,
  • setting the two 2,000 liter tanks on the foundations,
  • connecting the gutters to the water tanks with pvc pipes and installing a fine net to catch debris before it reaches the water,
  • install locking water taps to get water from!(the locks are to secure the water system at all hours from theft).

So far:

  • both foundations are almost complete and will be finished today,
  • we are halfway finished with the wooden boards and will complete them today,
  • the gutters will be going up tomorrow


and by the weekend this facility will have a full 4,000 liter rain water harvesting system ready to use! Here are a few pictures for now, we have to get back to work!




Board Member Meet & Greet Event, May 16th - Seattle, WA

Would you like to join our team to help create major positive change in the lives of marginalized children and their environments around the world? We are looking to expand our Board Of Directors to help govern and represent our organization. Our goal is to recruit 3-5 new members to serve on the Orphans to Ambassadors Board of Directors.  See details below on this opportunity.

400 students forming a human chain to transport bricks for 2 new rocket stoves we built at their school in Rwanda.

  • What qualities and skills are we looking for in a board member?

Someone with strong experience in one or more of these fields and can provide O2A guidance in these areas:

  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Financial
  • Human Resources
  • Legal
  • Strategy/Planning
  • Expertise in nonprofit's programs
  • Technology/Engineering
  • Knowledge of Sustainable/Green Technologies
  • Program Evaluation
  • International Development Work/Construction Management
  • Someone who is local (in the Greater Seattle Area) and can attend board meetings in person

Orphans to Ambassadors will be hosting a Board Member Meet and Greet at Wine Tea Chocolate in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, WA on Thursday, May 16th from 5-7pm.

We will be speaking with potential board members about the organization and what we’re looking for in our Board.

If you have a friend or colleague that would potentially be a good fit, please extend an invitation to this event. If you cannot attend this May 16th event, but are still interested in this opportunity please email Jacob Hanks at

Cameroon Orphanage Projects Complete!


The Harvest Home Orphanage projects in Fundong, Cameroon are complete!  The facility now has a large 3 room Chicken Coop and 100 chickens, a 4,000 liter Rainwater Harvesting System, and 2 high efficiency Rocket Stoves.


Here is our before picture of the chicken coop, the manager at the orphanage and the children cleared the site and laid the foundation before we arrived. They also made tons of awesome sun-dried blocks that we used to build the coop.


The chicken coop had three rooms, one for 50 meat chickens, or table birds as they say in Cameroon, one room for 50 layer fowl, egg chickens, and one room for storage.  We had the awesome privilege of purchasing the chickens, visiting the chicken farm where they came from, and of course, building the coop!  With lots of help.  Emma the manager was brilliant at construction, and it made the project easy as pie.  The kids were a great help as well, especially the older kids, they were awesome at construction and hard workers, they were an essential part of our team.


The coop will produce income by selling the eggs and the meat chickens,  this can help with school fees, food, or other things that the children need.  Some chickens and eggs can be fed to the children to improve their diets.



The 4,000 liter Rainwater Harvesting System consisted of four 1,000 liter tanks.  We installed rain gutters and connected the large storage tanks, to one of the orphanage buildings to collect and store rainwater.  We built reinforced rebar and concrete stands to elevate and support the tanks to create water pressure.



With this extra water supply coming from rainwater, collecting from the roof and gutters and storing in the tanks, the children and staff of the orphanage will be able to use this water to clean, do laundry, bathe, water plants, and a variety of other uses.  This will reduce the bill for their water pump, especially during the rainy season where they will be able to collect and utilize a lot of water that would otherwise fall to the ground and potentially cause erosion issues.  These tanks will even reduce waiting time experienced by children and staff waiting in line at the main water tap, because they will provide free on-site rainwater in their home's two high water use areas, beside the kitchen, and beside their bathing and laundry area.


We built these two high efficiency Rocket Stoves to accommodate the orphanages cooking needs, and to fit to the two pot sizes they use to cook  the children's meals every day.


These stoves will burn more efficiently than their previous stoves, and will save money on firewood, save time spent gathering, purchasing, or chopping firewood, and contribute less to deforestation.


These Rocket Stoves will also produce less smoke, creating healthier air for the children and staff to breathe, a healthier atmosphere, and cause less respiratory issues and pollution.

IMG_6588 (600px)

We were also able to do sustainability education lessons with the children at their nightly devotionals, discussing natural resources and what it means to be sustainable.  We even did a staff meeting with all of the staff as well.  We talked about each sustainable project and it's  purpose, and discussed responsibility and maintenance.  It was really cool to see the children already stepping in each day and keeping the chicken coop clean, making sure the chicks had clean water and plenty of food.  : )


IMG_2843I will be posting links to photo galleries with more photos very soon so check back for those!

We also will be posting some video footage on our youtube channel in the near future.

But for now you can check out our top 20 photos on our facebook:


Thank you so much for all of your support and for helping us to make these sustainable solutions a reality for this orphanage.


A Note From The Field

Charfassion Boys Orphanage

Hey everyone, Just wanted to write you all a quick note and let you know how everything is going here.

I included a photo Summer took of the goat farm, it pretty much sums up the whole trip.

There's 60 kids here that are wise beyond their years.  They are all very respectful, well mannered and have an incredible work ethic, most stay up until midnight studying.  The orphanage is already practicing sustainability and has a fish pond, vegetable garden, fruit trees, and now a goat farm.  The goat farm will help them raise another $2,500 every year in goat sales and will provide meat once a week for the boys (cost us ~$5000 to install).  The director (~40 yrs old) was an orphan 30 years ago at the same orphanage but has built it into an incredible organization.  We feel really good about our partnership here and very excited to start more projects next year.

Bangladesh is something else, 150 million people living in an area the size of Iowa.  I spent 4 hrs in traffic yesterday to go to the market and back and now my eyeballs and nostrils are burning from the incredible amount of toxins and smog in the air.  I had read that some of the highest levels of lead can be found in the tissue samples here in Bangladesh and now I know why.

After landing in Dhaka (~30 hours of travel time) we spent the night in a $18 hotel room and then boarded a 12 hour overnight ferry to the rural area where the orphanage is located.  The ferry was invested with roaches and I woke up with a large roach crawling up my arm at about 3 am.  The humidity and triple digit temperatures made it tough to sleep but we did get some shut eye.  Because there's no designated lanes at the ferry terminal for the boats to park, the ferry's literally slam into each other at the dock to squeeze into a space where they can offload passengers.  We hit the dock so hard coming back to Dhaka that a number of bystanders were almost knocked into the water.

So far nobody has gotten sick and we've all gained weight here as its customary to feed your guests an exorbitant amount of food.  On our second night here we were fed Carp with curry, you can imagine how good that was.  But for the most part the food has actually been pretty tasty, reminds me a lot of Indian food.

Tomorrow we leave for Kathmandu to install the solar panels on the rehabilitation center for victims of sex trafficking.

More pictures coming soon,

Hope all is well back home,

Jake Gentry

Bricks & Dance Party! 5.11.12

Friday[May 11 2012] We went to a hotel this morning to use the internet and catch up on some important emails, we were kinda bummed because we had ordered bricks for the rocket stoves, but due to the rain they had not arrived a few days earlier when they were supposed to.  It has rained everyday  that we have been here, the rain doesn't last too long when it comes, but its enough to ruin the muddy roads for trucks trying to come through.  When we got back from the hotel, surprise! the truck of bricks was here.  It was stuck in the mud at the entrance to the school.  The headmistress sent us a lot of help to get the bricks unloaded and across campus.

We ate lunch and as soon as we were finished the second truck arrived!

We teamed up with some local masons to start building a foundation for the coop!

We got a surprise that night, we were just wrapping up the workday when loud music broke out and we realized we were in the midst of a dance party.  The girls circled around us and invited us to dance with them.  Friday nights are their free nights to dance and hangout and we had so much fun dancing and bonding with the girls, cutting loose and acting like kids after a long hard workday!  We actually had planned to head to a local hotel to celebrate Nate's birthday but we realized the party had already come to us.Check out these pictures of what our day looked like.[gallery columns="4" orderby="post_date"]

Early Bird

2 hours before breakfast, 4am, and the jet-lag's got ahold of me... can't sleep.  Whatever time we leave the ALARM center in Kigali and get to the actual orphanage, we have to get materials today.  This is the only thing on my mind. With 2x4s and cement blocks, we can begin making the 6 frames that form the chicken coop structure.  We get those tacked together and set on blocks so they're off the ground, preventing rot, and then we brace it against itself, add in floorboards, wallboards and roofboards.  The square of the yard will mean digging out post holes every 7 or 8 feet to place 4x4 posts where we'll attach the chicken wire wrap.

I keep doing it in my head but I want nails in boards!

All in Country

I just picked up Jen from the airport and we are to meet the other five (Jacob, Stephanie, Katherine, Mercedes and Michael) at the IWE Center tomorrow where we will stay for the rest of the trip and begin working.  It's only an hour or so away depending on weather and we hope to be there by noon.  We haven't had any contact yet from the team that has arrived there but we have some hopes. They probably were able to survey the center. Taking before pictures at the technology sites.  The roof lines for rain-gutters, the kitchen for the brick stoves and the plot of land where we will build a coop for 50 chickens.  If they got any further than that, they probably interviewed the orphanage director, Theopiste, about the needs and costs of the orphanage which can help us identify more exactly our impact.  Even further than that and Jacob and Michael may have been out to hardware stores pricing bricks and wood boards for the stoves and coop.  That's a big wish though.

Once we're all together tomorrow the real work begins...

First Full Day

  After tens of hours on and around planes- we landed in Kigali, Rwanda and got put up at the ALARM Center which means hot showers and meals with coffee!  Our 7th and last member of the team is arriving tonight and Nate I'm hanging back to make sure she gets in completely.  The other five members took off this morning(+6 hours on EST) to Rwamagana to begin scouting the project and purchasing supplies for the chicken-coop and brick stoves.  The internet may get spotty there but we're looking to have at least one update each day.  Since I'm waiting in Kigali till tonight you can expect more bits today than usual, yeay![gallery]

-posted by: Nathan Hanks

Charlotte Team




Here's a look at the Charlotte team who will be completing the 2012 Rwanda projects at the IWE women's center as mentioned in the previous blog entry:  here


MICHAEL LOWE Michael is a 2011 graduate of the UNC School of Construction Management and Engineering Technology. With project management experience in residential remodeling and participation in the Engineers Without Borders Program since 2010, Michael has traveled throughout Central America assisting on community development and enhancement construction projects. Projects include rainwater collection systems, storm water drainage control programs, high-efficiency cook stove designs, and residential and institutional construction programs using indigenous materials.




I grew up in NC playing sports, riding bikes, exploring the woods and climbing trees. I attended UNC Chapel Hill, then moved to Seattle for a new adventure.  I love hiking, rock climbing, traveling and meeting new people.  Now for another new adventure- volunteering with O2A in Rwanda.  I can't wait!

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As the volunteer and event coordinator for O2A, I’ve helped raise over $6,000 in funding for projects through a series of bake sales and a large gift wrapping fundraiser. I’m honored to be a part of the team traveling to Rwanda in May 2012 to provide aid to an orphanage of 450 girls, and fulfill my life-long dream to help others.

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After graduating from Appalachian State University in 2008 and teaching in Japan for years, I am continuing my work with children at a Daycare while Improvising with the Charlotte Comedy Theater.

I've worked with friends in O2A for almost two years developing projects that we believe in and I feel this is the most moral work I've ever done.  Not only do I believe in the way we're benefiting generations of children, but the work- from trip planning to intense problem solving on site and between countries- is completely engaging and I feel very lucky to enjoy working positively.




I’ve been with Orphans to Ambassadors for a year now, helping behind the scenes with fundraising, event planning, and grant writing. I’m thrilled beyond words to be going on my first international project in Rwanda.   For this project, I was responsible for designing and building a large chicken coop. I’m a social worker with experience with children, not chickens, so I enlisted the help of my friend Matt at CAST Architecture to help with the design process.  His help has proved priceless as this is my first chicken coop adventure!

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I am SO  excited to be traveling to East Africa with 02A!  I found out about 02A through Jacob Hanks, we met in college and bonded through friendship, school, and our spiritual lives for the next 3 years.  I shared with him my passion for mission work and also for refugees, particularly in Africa.

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I grew up in the foothills of North Carolina with O2A’s Founder Jake Gentry.  Ever since learning about Jake starting Orphans to Ambassadors, I have been an active volunteer.  The approach this organization takes to helping disadvantaged youth is so unique and compelling to me.  I am fascinated by teaching sustainable development to children and inspiring them to create positive opportunities for themselves while being good stewards of their resources.  I began volunteering as a fundraiser for the organization in April 2010 and since have worked with my older brother and best friend, Nathan Hanks to form a dedicated volunteer team in Charlotte, NC  to help further develop Orphans to Ambassadors.  I love the outdoors and serving youth locally and overseas.  In Charlotte I coordinate two after-school tutoring and art programs where I have helped co-create a garden to teach basic sustainability practices with my girlfriend Stephanie Braun.  Last summer I coordinated the Nazareti orphanage project in Ngara, Tanzania with the help of the Charlotte Volunteer Team and O2A Vice President Suzanne Fossum.  The Nazareti boys were incredibly thankful children and were very receptive to our team of volunteers.  With the help of the boys we installed an extensive rainwater harvesting system on the orphanage.  In December 2011 I coordinated our firstbio-sandwaterfilterproject in Embu, Kenya and now serve the volunteer role of O2A’s International Projects Manager.