Water tank part of Farmers Helping Farmers program between P.E.I. and Kenya

Published on January 9, 2017

Jocelyn Dougan is joined by Kenyan friends in front of a water tank donated as a show of support by family and friends back home on P.E.I.

©Submitted photo

Jocelyn Dougan got quite a surprise last January while on a trip to Africa.

She found a gift from her family back on P.E.I. — a 4,600-litre water tank with her name on it installed through Farmers Helping Farmers.

Jocelyn was in tears when she spoke to her parents on the phone that night and found out they had planned to have it installed just in time for her visit.

Lorraine and Mike Dougan knew their daughter was going to Kenya. She and three other UPEI nursing students were going on a three-week trip with Farmers Helping Farmers and they wanted to show their support.

The Dougans hosted a dinner party to raise the money for the water tank.

Twenty friends came together to share stories. One volunteered to bring a few items for a silent auction and things snowballed into a fundraiser. Friends who couldn’t make it sent along cheques.

The silent auction turned into a live auction. The items on the block ranged from a golf package to a cottage weekend to homemade biscuits.

They called it Stories of Friendship Past.

Lorraine Dougan was pleased.

“It was one of the most fun nights ever.”

The Dougans aren’t the only family members who have sponsored a water tank through Farmers Helping Farmers, a P.E.I.-based charity that helps families in Africa become self-sufficient.

Brenda MacDonald, Lorraine’s first cousin, explained the Christmas beginnings of her 2014 water tank campaign.

“Other families have cookie exchanges. We have a family pub crawl.”

Before the younger set head to the pubs, matriarch Mena MacDonald, 91, gathers her family at the home of Brian and Kim Burt every Christmas season. Four generations of her clan don T-shirts and pose for photos while snacking on pizza and visiting.

The 2014 pub crawl was a fundraiser at Brenda’s suggestion. She has been a long-time supporter of Farmers Helping Farmers, so she wanted to share her love of the organization with her family.

Family chipped in some money and Mena made up the rest.

Brenda is impressed with Jocelyn’s enthusiasm.

“She’s an amazing kid who is interested in a lot of things.”