We have some very exciting news here at The Circus! As many of you may already know, we’ve been working on a project in No-Kunda, Gambia, to build a well for the home village of our chef Bully. Bully grew up in Gambia and has been living in Berlin for the past 16 years. Each year Bully goes back to his village to visit his friends and family there. He realised that the children in the village were spending more time organising water for their daily needs than on their education. This is only one of the many problems relating to water management the village faces.

When Bully came back to Berlin after one of his trips, he sat down with the owners of The Circus and explained the situation. He was looking for a bit of advice and inspiration. They were very touched by his story and they wanted to help. They decided to do so with a fundraising project.

Together with the non-profit organisation Hand-In-Hand The Circus then started a charity project, collecting money from friends, colleagues, families and guests, and with Betterplace.org we found the ideal platform to host our project and collect donations from people near and afar. To raise money, The Circus put up various fundraising promotions (an African evening at Fabisch restaurant with Bully as grill master and a flea market at our hostel) and I also wanted to contribute something to the project.

The Circus Builds a Well in No-Kunda

I’ve known Bully for many years from when I still worked at the hotel, having spent countless hours talking about this and that while he sweated over a hot stove, and as I was running dishes through the washer. Some months ago I decided to run a half marathon to help Bully. Following my passion as a runner and raising awareness for the project, I donated 1 euro for each kilometer that I ran and then shared this on my social media.

After some time, I received a surprising message from an old high school friend, Rabia, with whom I got to know during our senior year, when we both casted in the play “A Streetcar Named Desire”; Rabia played Stanley and I played Steve.

“Brother! I have some astounding news to share with you”, Rabia said when he reached out to me via Facebook. He explained that 10 years ago his non-profit organisation Do As One was looking into building a well. Recently a friend of Rabia’s, Adeel, had lost water in his house for a couple of days and they had a conversation about what life would be like without access to clean water. Rabia explained to his friend that for many people around the world this is reality. Adeel and Rabia decided that they wanted to do something to change this. A few months later Rabia saw my post about our project. It stood out to him and he knew that this was the project he’d been waiting for.

With the help of both Rabia’s non-profit Do As One, Adeel and their extremely generous donation, we finished the second most important part of the project: the funding of the well itself! Their generosity and good will made this entire project possible for us.

Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined that anything as big as this would ever come out of my half-marathon for Bully.

“Do As One is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching people about the power of breathing together as one human family and the raising of awareness around conscious breathing.”

This was truly an act of unimaginable kindness. To express our gratitude, The Circus has offered Rabia a plaque on the well. In honour of Adeel’s parents, it will read:

“ A gift from the hearts of Syeda Neelofar Bokhari & Syed Mansoor Bokhari and the Do As One Organization. May No-Kunda and the world breathe together as one!”

With this large donation, the donations collected from The Circus, and the final donation The Circus gave to match Rabia’s, we are delighted to announce that the project has come to an end. Both myself and The Circus would like to extend a very warm thank you to all the donors both big and small for their support.

For more information on the project stay tuned here: www.betterplace.org/en/projects/43006

So after many months of hard work and organising, we can now sit back and, in Rabia’s words “we celebrate”.

We celebrate, brother. Indeed, we celebrate!

For a more in-depth post on how this has affected me please read my piece with a little help from a friend on my personal blog: https://dispatchesofdispair.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/with-a-little-help-from-a-friend/