November 13, 2010

I just walked into the kitchen to get a drink of water. I put ice in my cup and went for the water cooler. When I realized it was empty, I groaned. Now I have to go out into the garage to bring a new bottle of water in. After I groaned I immediately thought, "Did I just groan about having to walk a few yards out to the garage to bring in my filtered sparkling water a few yard into the house? Wow.

Today at 11:00 we met a group of 33 wonderful people with empty water jugs in hand to walk 3.5 miles to Sonic Burger to fill up our jugs and walk back. We did this to simulate the walk the people of the Bugiri village take once or twice a day to get diseased dirty water for their village. It was great to walk and talk and get just a tiny feel for what it must be like. Well, not really. I mean we chose to do this walk ONE day. And, we had drinking water with us. And, we did it on a beautiful sunny day with a high of 70 degrees.

I know I am still not even close to understanding the life of our Bugiri brothers and sisters, but I do know that I have a greater sense of urgency after today's walk.

Doug had a great idea! He said I should post on my FB asking for just $1 for the well from anyone willing to give. I love this idea because almost everyone will give a dollar! He also had the idea to live in a raised crane until the money is raised. Hmmm....hopefully the "Dollar for a well" idea will work before he moves into a crane.

Click here to give to our 400 Dresses Well Project!

June 8, 2010

The 400 Dresses Project Blog

I've posted a new blog entry on The 400 Dresses Project blog:

June 4, 2010

The 400 Dresses Project Update

I finally have internet back at home, so I have time to update you on our SUPER EXCITING project!

In early January, our family decided that we wanted to help drill a water well in Africa. God sent an amazing friend into our lives about two weeks later. It just so happens that Julie works for Hope 4 Kids International and it also just so happens that H4KI drills water wells in Africa! I asked Julie how much it would cost and she told me it would cost $10,150. GULP! The funny thing is that the number I had in my mind that we could manage to do somehow was $4,000. Well, I guess God needed us to have a goal that we really didn't feel we could achieve on our own and $10,150 was an amount we didn't think we could raise.

A division of H4KI is called Hope 4 Women and they have a program called Dress A Girl Around the World. After looking at the dress program, I had an idea! We could make boutique quality pillowcase dresses in pairs, send one to Uganda and one to the purchaser. That would be how we'd raise the money for the well!

I had no idea it would take me until JUNE to finally have everything in place to really start sewing and selling the dresses in earnest. It took all of that time to raise the money to purchase the fabric for the dresses. I really wanted the dresses to be made with great quality designer fabric because even girls in extreme poverty deserve to feel like a princess. Kristin at Sew, Mama, Sew! allowed us to buy all of our fabric (27 bolts!) at her cost!

The orders are rolling in and we are about 1/10th of our way to our goal!

AND just today, we received a very large check in the mail from an out of state friend. I had NO idea she and her husband were planning to donate to our well!

We met with the President of Hope 4 Kids today and I am just so inspired. I asked him if the villagers know we are raising money for a well for them and he said they do! And, as soon as they get their new well, 80% of the diseases that kill their children will be gone immediately! Lives will be saved right away! I am just beyond excited about that.

If you know anyone who you think might like a dress, would you pass on our website and our 400 Dresses Etsy shop? And, if you feel led to, please pray for our village.

Here is info on our village...Bugiri 1, Uganda:

"A well will mean saving a village of more than 15,000 from common preventable and treatable diseases, like the Dysentery, the #3 killer in East Africa. Here is your village profile information where we will be drilling your well.

Village: Burgiri 1
Parish: Bugiri
Sub County: Kasasira
County: Kibuku
District: Pallisa
Population: Adults 5,000 Children 10,300
Water Source: River Water
Distance: 6 kilometres

The name of this village is Bugiri 1 located in Eastern Uganda. Bugiri 1 is a densely populated village up in the Pallisa District which is at a high elevation and has a very dry and desolate climate. There are 5000 adults and 10,300 children in Bugiri. In the areas surrounding Bugiri 1, there is a primary school, a Trading Centre, and a Health Centre. All of the people who use these would find great benefit in having a well in Bugiri 1.

The current water source for Bugiri 1 is a river 6 kilometers (3.6 miles) away. The river is a source shared with animals and also is used as a swimming pool. The animals contaminate the water, posing serious health hazards.

Many times, the children of the home are responsible for collecting the water, mostly the girls. This forces them to stay home and not attend school. The river is also a place for fishing. Tragically, many of the fishermen corrupt under-aged children as they come to collect water. Not only is this something no child should face, they are often exposed to HIV as well.

A well in Bugiri 1 will make a huge difference for the people in and around the village. Disease will go down, the children will be able to attend school, the girls will be safe from the fishermen."

Here are pictures of the water source that the Bugiri 1 villagers currently are using:

April 29, 2010

The fabric arrived today!!!

I am beyond excited! It was better than Christmas today at our house around 1:45 PM!

April 20, 2010

Fabric has been ordered!!!

I have spent hours finding the right fabric combinations and I officially ordered the fabric today! Here are the combos we went with:

March 19, 2010

We have our village!!!

I am so excited that we have now been assigned a village for our water well project! Talk about putting a sense of urgency in my mind!

You can read about it and see pictures on the website. Here is a link!

February 8, 2010

The Water Well/Pillowcase Dress Project is "Well" Underway!

"400 Dresses", "Well Dressed", "Drink Well, Dress Well"...

These are some ideas for names for our project.

If this is the first you have heard of it, we are raising $10,150 this year to have a water well drilled in a village in East Africa. To raise money for the well, we are selling pillowcase dresses (they are ADORABLE!) and sending duplicate dresses to little girls in Africa who have no clothes and deserve to feel beautiful!

I have had so many ideas running through my head and so many offers to help that I am overwhelmed (in a GOOD way). I finally slept in until 7:00 am this morning. Excitement and a mind that wouldn't stop had me awake at 3:30 or 4:00 am Wednesday through Sunday!

I started sewing and LOVE the dresses. I have been using up my fabric stash and have also been given fabric from a wonderful friend!

The purpose of the post last week was just to let everyone know what we are doing. It was pointed out to us that there really isn't any good information on HOW to help. are specific steps you can take if you would like to help right away:

1. We need donated fabric (designer fabric preferred). To donate fabric, email me at: and we can make arrangements.

2. We need money to buy fabric. Sew, Mama, Sew! has offered to let us purchase fabric at cost plus shipping. That is GREAT news! In order to buy this fabric, we will need donations. If you would like to make a donation specifically for fabric, you can send me a Paypal at: or send a check to: Melissa Lake, 42204 N 44th Drive, Anthem, AZ 85086.

3. We need seamstresses.
If you would like to help sew the dresses, please contact me. We will be having a sewing event on Saturday, March 6th from 9:00 am to Noon in Anthem, AZ (specific details to come). But, I can also give you fabric and the pattern if you would like to do some of the sewing at home.

4. We need to "sell" dresses! Okay, we're not quite ready for this one yet. We are making dresses, but don't have enough to post in an online store. The dresses will cost $50 for two of them, one of which will be sent to the purchaser and one to a little girl in Africa. The $50 will be a donation, payable directly to Hope 4 Kids International.

5. We need prayer. If you are a pray-er, we'd love your prayers!

We are hoping to get a website up and running soon with just the basic information but we want to keep overhead as low as possible.

Thank you for the amazing support that you have given in just the past six days since we first posted about the project! We started out with the idea that this would be a Lake Family project, but it has almost overnight turned into a community project!!