'Just the beginning': Lottery winner makes plans to dig wells in native Togo

For many people, winning the lottery is the American Dream, but Kodjo Ayewonou believes it was destiny.

"I was crying, obviously. It was a cry of joy because I'd been praying for this," said Ayewonou.

Ayewonou had just dropped off a Lyft passenger in Eden Prairie, Minnesota when he bought a Quick Pick lottery ticket at the BP on Shady Oak Road a week and a half ago. It wasn't until he stopped by the station a couple of days later that he learned he had matched five of the six numbers in the Mega Millions drawing. He ended up winning $1 million.

"In my mind, I started saying, ‘God has answered my prayers,’ because this is something I was expecting for me to be able to go and fulfill the passion I have," said Ayewonou.

Ayewonou says he started the Ebenezer Charity Foundation about a year ago to help provide clean water to rural communities in western Africa. He says donations hadn't lived up to his expectations, so he will use some of his winnings to dig wells and give school supplies to orphans in his native Togo.

"I have lived in the same situation,” said Ayewonou. “I was born in a small village where the only way to get water was to go to the stream to fetch water. During the rainy season, the water is dirty and you have no choice than to use it."

Ayewonou says he started driving for Lyft to tell people about his labor of love and even though he won the lottery, he sees no reason to hit the brakes now.

"The $1 million cannot do it all,” he said. “I can only do what I can do. I believe it is just the beginning."

At first, Ayewonou said he wanted to buy a Jeep with his winnings, but he's putting those plans on hold. He hopes to get a few wells dug in Africa in the next couple of months.