As I write this, I’m visiting family in North Carolina. My granddaughter – born at 2 pounds – is doing well. I just cut the grass and took a shower.
And that made me think.
Your water came on this morning, didn’t it? Your toilet flushes; shower sprays; faucet runs. If they malfunction, you have the means to fix them, or call a plumber or someone who can help.
But some people don’t have that luxury. In fact, one out of seven souls around the globe has no clean water.
Since 2006, my family has traveled to Uganda once or twice a year to visit our friends, most of whom live in grass huts. These folks don’t have water or electricity but are hard working and have joy in their rugged lives.
When we helped place a deep well in Lugala in 2009 (that brings clean drinking water to hundreds of people), no one was more excited than Clementina Awino. Our friend, nurse and pastor knows how much this means: her people became healthier, stronger. Seeing her face light up as the water poured forth is emblazoned in my memory.
Can you imagine life without indoor plumbing? No tap to turn to bring water? This is the situation in much of the developing world.
In Uganda, half of all people don’t have access to clean water, and in the countryside where we work, even fewer folks have access to a well or other clean supply.
The head of World Vision, Richard Stearns, writes that “783 million have no access at all. Instead, they walk miles each day to dip their buckets in filthy, bacteria-ridden water that makes them sick and kills their children.”
How can this be? How can our brothers and sisters be in this situation while we do little but watch or ignore?
When I found out that Clementina’s Water Committee was collecting a small amount of money from families using the well, I thought perhaps this was some sort of exploitation. It turned out that the people wanted to do this in order to have funds to repair the borehole’s handle themselves. This long-range planning is indicative of concern folks have about caring for the things that are theirs or belong to the community.
On this month’s trip, we hope to dig a deep borehole well at a school near Arua and fix two broken wells in the south – one in Palissa, and one near Jinja. Each of these wells will serve about 500 families.
Our family and friends work under a 501-c3 organization called Partnering4Africa. With people like Clementina, we’ve also helped with a clinic, schools, chickens and goats, micro-funds to entrepreneurs, bed nets to fight malaria and so on.
If you’re interested in traveling with us or assisting P4A, there are many opportunities. You can bring a cup of clean cold water to individuals who are hard working, but hard pressed. These folks toil long hours to provide for their families – subsistence farmers. But a helping hand, a partner, is what we all need sometimes.
My granddaughter is fine, the grass is cut and the shower works here, but many around the globe are thirsty. You can help. To reach Partnering4Africa, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com.