Aimee Wise grew up in a loving Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia and felt a calling from an early age to serve others, particularly in the field of medicine. As a young woman, she entered a convent and went through years of specialized training to become a Medical Mission Sister and a nurse. Her subsequent assignment to serve in Malawi, Africa, and to participate in an innovative approach to missionary work was a dream come true, but a dream tarnished by external conflicts and inner turmoil.


A closet writer all of her life, the 2010 discovery of a box containing remnants of her African past sparked a desire to pen a memoir of her early years in Malawi. Her book, Of Human Clay: The Making and Breaking of a Nun, was published in 2013. Ms. Wise knows well the many daily struggles and challenges of the people of Malawi, and she has kept a special place in her heart for the people of the Lower Shire where she served.

Aimee contacted Freshwater Project International and we began discussions of how her passion to continue to serve the people of Malawi could be made a reality. She felt strongly that easy access to clean water is the foundation for change from a public health perspective.

Freshwater’s Country Director, Henrick Kunkeyani, traveled to the Lower Shire in early December to assess the water needs at Tengani village. Here is an excerpt from his report:

“Indeed the community of Tengani is in a great need of support (water). I can’t believe what I saw. The women walk long distances and sit for hours in a queue to get household water, often from shallow wells as shown in the photo below. The community and the chiefs in the area are extremely excited with this project, and my suggestion is that we start now, before the rainy season makes travel difficult.”

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It just so happened that a drilling contractor and his team were already in the area and could begin the project immediately, saving Freshwater thousands of dollars.

Within a week, the drilling and construction was complete and the community had immediate access to Freshwater for Christmas!


We are currently working with Aimee and our Country Director in Malawi to determine next steps in the further development of this project. Some considerations are the local sanitation and hygiene situation at schools and health centers as well as the potential for other water points in this community.