BROOKSVILLE — Until recently, children in the Detti community in western Tanzania, Africa, had to haul water from a hole and lug it back to their homes each day before school.
"In their culture, it is the kids' job to go get water for their families," said Brooksville Elementary School global studies teacher Kathy Gates.
But things are easier for them now, thanks to Brooksville Elementary's staff and students and the nonprofit organization Global Water, an international organization that helps people in developing countries improve water safety.
Each May, the school has a fundraiser — a global festival — and students are expected to earn quarters to spend for games, food and crafts. The proceeds go to a humanitarian project.
One year, the children and staff raised $1,000 for Heifer International. Another time, the money went to Partners in Health to aid people in Haiti. This year, the school sent $800 to Global Water to help with the cost of drilling the well in Detti, Tanzania.
The Detti community has about a 1,000 families. The children attend primary school and advance to secondary school if they have met the academic requirements, if they have the funding and if they don't have family responsibilities that prevent them from continuing.
There is no electricity or running water. The new well is close to the secondary school, Gates said, and the effort is called the Nyathorogo School Water Project.
The Brooksville children have learned about all of this and see the need.
"Over in Tanzania, a lot of people don't have clean water," said fifth-grader Frederick Clayton, 11. "They have to go to a watering hole, and it's just like so dirty, but with the well we installed over there they can get fresh, clean water."
The children have also learned about the country. It is home to Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti plains and Gombe National Park, where Jane Goodall did chimpanzee research.
The country became personal to them when they were helping schoolchildren with whom they could relate.
"We chose Tanzania because they're in Africa, and some of the places in Africa get muddy because of the rain," said fifth-grader Ky Williams, 10, "and when they go to get the water, it's not good for them to drink."
Fifth-grader Brianna Taylor, 11, agreed.
"It was a good idea, because there were a lot of diseases in Tanzania, and when it's really hot outside you want clean water so you don't get sick," she said.
Fifth-grader Hunter Wilson, 11, explained: "Clean water's important because without it you get sick from bacteria and couldn't live."