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A Thirst for Change

Well driller Ken Wood brings clean water to hundreds of African villages

Each year in Ghana, Western Africa, thousands of people die from drinking contaminated water from ponds and wells dug by hand. Children and women walk up to five miles each way, only to bring home water filled with bacteria that can kill them.

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Ken Wood helps build wells that provide fresh, clean water to villages in Ghana

AARP Broadcast-Publicity

Ken Wood helps build wells that provide fresh, clean water to villages in Ghana.

“You see the kids hauling the water up and down the road … you would not let your dog touch the water, it’s that bad,” says well driller Ken Wood. Several years ago, this Maryland farm boy was just hoping to sell one of his used rigs to an African village in desperate need of a clean source of water. He wasn’t looking for a second career, let alone a way to change the world … but that’s exactly what he found.

Since that first visit back in 2006, Ken has returned to Ghana 18 times to drill water wells for local villages. It’s at around 50 feet down where you will find water, and Ken can drill that deep in an hour. He and his small team have drilled more than 600 wells in Western Africa and have improved the quality of life for more than 100,000 people. With his organization Lifetime Wells for Ghana, he’s now making plans to start drilling wells on Africa’s eastern shore – in Tanzania.

Despite being 66-years-old and having suffered two major heart attacks, Ken shows no signs of stopping. He’s an inspiration to his son, Ben, who helps run the business, and to his 18-year-old granddaughter, Shelby, who recently made her first visit to Africa.

My Generation journeys along with the man known to locals as “Chief Living Water” to discover how he transforms the quality of life for thousands upon thousands of people.

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