Springs of Living Water!
The people living in biblical times knew the value of water. They knew that without a well or a flowing river or stream, there could be no life. That’s why if a spring of water was discovered in the wilderness — entire villages would be built nearby . . . because everyone wanted to be near the source of life: water. Today, in much of Africa, it’s the same way.
“Sr. Florida Kaigalula and other Siste
rs operate a nursery and primary school which care for young children,” The Sisters’ mission is located in the Bukoba, Tanzania in northwestern region of the country. Sr. Florida writes “While we have been able to build several school buildings for the purpose of classrooms, we have been without water and proper sanitation for a very long time. As a result, our Sisters must either fetch water on their own or the people who come here must bring their own water — because we do not have a source of clean water that is available to us.”
“This lack of water,” Sr. Florida continues, “has an incredible impact on the work of our Sisters and the children here in the mission. Imagine the amount of energy that is spent the better part of each day concerned with getting clean water. Additionally, we need to make sure that human waste is not impacting our living environment. Because of this, we have decided to begin constructing a waste water harvesting system as well as build pit latrines for the children, staff and local people to use — so that waste is properly taken care of.”
“Our plan is to install gutters, downspouts, pipes, valves, faucets, and water storage tanks for the purpose of collecting the rain that falls during the two rainy seasons. Once we have such a system in place, we will be able to store enough clean water so as to have enough for drinking, bathing, and all other necessities.”
“Having a reliable supply of clean water is something that many here have never known. Imagine what a difference it will make for all of us!
I think we all agree that whether you are in the United States or other western countries, we sometimes cannot fully appreciate what it must be like to live without the easy availability of clean water. Since we often have the best plumbing available, we do not grasp the full impact of what is meant by a “spring of living water!”
I would invite you to consider the importance of clean water in your own community — and how critical it is that we conserve the water we have. Whether we realize it or not, it helps everyone when we repair dripping faucets, take shorter showers, and run the dishwasher less often. Conserving and not wasting natural resources like water is critical to being a good steward of the world God has given us!
No Clean Water!
Results from a recent study of current living conditions throughout Africa report that more than one billion people do not have enough clean water to provide for their basic human needs. As a result, more than 2,500 children are dying each day.
“When people are desperately thirsty,” one official explained, “they are willing to take the risk of disease by consuming water that may not be healthy. For them – it’s either risk infection or die from thirst! It is a horrible position to be in.”
Unsafe drinking water can carry diseases such as malaria, trypanosomiasis, intestinal worm infections, dengue, and schistosomiasis – as well as bacteria that can lead to deadly diarrheal infections. “In some areas,” the report continued, “the level of suffering and misery owing to the inadequacy of clean water is almost beyond comprehension judging by the number of pregnant women and children who suffer from deadly diarrheal diseases such as cholera and dysentery.
“These parasites and diseases feed on very young children and the elderly,” explains Fr. Richard Roy. Fr. Roy is the director of the Missionaries of Africa’s development office in Washington, DC. “They are the innocent and silent members of society… they have no one to be a voice for them.”
“Entire villages and communities are being wiped out by diseases that are living in dirty water,” Fr. Roy continued. “Children are dying in huge numbers! For many people, these numbers are so big that they cannot begin to comprehend them – they are statistics! But imagine your own child dying . . . and then imagine if it happened to every child in your neighborhood school! That’s when we start to understand how horrible the crisis is! These poor people desperately need our help!” The Missionaries of Africa are currently accepting contributions that will be used to provide safe drinking water for men, women and children in Africa’s neediest regions. All donations are tax-deductible.
Devastating drought is once again threatening the lives of African men, women and children. In the months ahead, as many as 14 million people will be at risk of starvation and malnutrition.
“Vegetation has decreased drastically,” a study on the current conditions within the African continent recently stated. “The eastern side of the continent on the Horn of Africa is being affected more substantially than others. In this region, the rainy season occurs between February and June. Much less rain has fallen than normal this year, so their staple crops of corn and sorghum simply withered. Poor harvests over the past three years have worn away food surpluses and incomes in the region. As many as 14 million people may be at risk of malnutrition or starvation.” The study stated that as much as 270,000 metric tons of food assistance will be needed immediately . . . but only 120,000 metric tons is currently available.
“Food shortages are particularly severe in eastern and southern Ethiopia,” another report explained, “where deaths from starvation are being increasingly reported. Sudan and Uganda are also being affected.”
“We are seeing an entire continent of people experience suffering like never before!” explains Fr. Richard Roy who served in Africa as a missionary for more than 20 years before being assigned to head the organization’s development office in Washington, DC. “With a drought of this magnitude — the land, the animals, the people — everything is dying! If we don’t reach out – we could see the end of entire villages, regions . . . even cities. An enormous amount of food, water and medicine is needed. I am praying that our benefactors will help us get supplies to our missionaries in the field . . . so that they can reach those who are on the verge of dying!”