In Chad, I worked in an area known as the Sahel, place that was known for temperatures averaging between 97 and 108 degrees. On a sunny day you could, without exaggeration, fry an egg easily if you could find a black rock big enough. In that context, water meant everything. In the states, I struggle with drinking 8 8oz glasses of water a day. Over there, I could chug a liter and a half without even thinking about it after a few hours of walking or biking. I remember on a “bush trip” being offered yellowish water…I said a prayer and hoped for the best, but in Chad, you can’t be picky…in that heat, clean or not, you need water!
I suppose it’s those experiences, more than anything, that make me really appreciate the importance of clean water for a community. In the capital of Chad, we had access to mostly clean water, but in the villages it was very much hit or miss. The same is true in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in fact, if anything, I think the situation is worse in the DRC, because, for the most part, there wasn’t a lot of surface water in Chad, so most of the drinking water came from wells, which is a lot more safer than surface water generally. In the DRC, a village might have a spring, but that spring is used by a lot more than just people bringing containers to fill…the goats and pigs and every other animal in the area will be drinking from that spring. And not to be too graphic, but if we tell our kids not to drink the water in a swimming pool for obvious reasons…just think of what is in all of that water that is the only source of water for an entire village.
But clean or not, in a hot country, you need water and you need a lot of it daily. As an adult, you might get sick from time to time, but it probably isn’t too serious and besides, what else can you do? But the lack of clean water really affects the kids. What is inconvenient for an adult, can become life threatening when you talking about a 2 year old. Clean water isn’t a luxury…it’s a matter of life or death for some. I know as a parent, I will go to great lengths to protect my kids…I also believe that God calls me not only to be concerned about my kids, but to love my neighbor.
Jesus once said, that even “a cup of water” given in his name would be rewarded. We have an incredible opportunity to make a difference for hundreds and even thousands of people. E4 Project has partnered with Nebobongo Hospital in the DRC and they want to have an impact on the whole region. E4 talked with Dr Jean Claude this week and he shared excitedly about the plans he is making and how providing clean water to each of the villages is only the beginning of what he hopes to accomplish in each village. In each of the villages, they are planning on doing a complete public health survey and additional teaching. And in each of the villages, if a church exists then they will be made key partners in the process and if no church exists then an evangelist will be brought in to share the Good News.
As of today, the hospital serves two regions with over 200 villages that need clean water. There is a simple solution, using local materials and some concrete and pipes. The spring is sealed and clean water comes out of the pipes without any moving parts. Their is still standing water for all the animals that come to drink, but the people can come and fill their containers from the pipes and never worry about getting sick from the water again. The cost to give this gift to each village is about $750. Each village comes up with the sand and gravel and labor on their own. That’s their part and it helps keep the cost of the project down. But $750 represents an enormous sum in that part of Africa and most of those villages will never seal their springs on their own. E4 Project wants to help Nebobongo Hospital have an incredible impact on their region and is hoping to fully fund the sealing of 20 springs in the next few months. I know that we all have expenses…and money is tight (I really know this my oldest is now in college!) But what would you give for a cup of water?
To find out more, check out the cause page at http://www.e4project.org/cause/clean-water/http://www.e4project.org/cause/clean-water/