Dinka women carrying clean water from an IAS well to their homes.
There’s a little village in a corner of South Sudan that doesn’t have clean water. This village is similar to countless others, so this fact doesn’t really make it special or unique. There is certainly water nearby, but it comes from a river and from shallow, hand-dug wells. People drink and bathe in the same water that the cattle muddy up when they come to graze. A woman washes her children’s clothes while goats and sheep linger nearby, nibbling on the tender grass that grows along the banks of the river.
Water is necessary for life. We drink it, cook with it, bathe in it, and wash dishes and clothes with it. Without water, crops and cattle would die. But when there is no access to clean water, the very thing we need to survive becomes a threat to our survival. Bacteria and parasites cause deadly diseases, especially in children, which is a contributing factor to why so many children under the age of five die of simple diarrhea. And think about the infant whose mother has died in childbirth because no health care was available: how will he grow and thrive when the impoverished family then waters down his formula with contaminated water?
I’ve been to this village. It’s a forty-minute walk from the IAS project in Nyinbuli village. One Sunday afternoon I sat with a local pastor and some friends in this village, enjoying a meal of chicken, sorghum and rice. My Kenyan co-worker had brought a berry-flavored juice mix as a gift, and a woman served us the sweet drink with an apology, explaining that we were drinking river water. That night I took medicine to prevent getting any parasites, but what about the people without access to these drugs?
Isaiah 44:3a (NIV)
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
AND STREAMS ON THE DRY GROUND.”
So what can we do? It’s a big problem, for sure, but it’s a problem with solutions. We’d like to introduce you to the IAS Clean Water Alliance. This is a consortium of civic groups, businesses, churches and individuals who share the goal of providing clean water to the developing world. Through this, you can create your own project and build a well, water filter, latrine, mini-water yard or animal trough, and help a community in need. Churches and community groups can partner with communities around the world. Your family could impact a family in need in ways that will change their lives forever. This is a great way to mobilize your community and make tangible, lasting change.
Living close to clean water can change a girl’s life.
When people have clean water, children die less of preventable diseases. Infants relying on formula have a fighting chance. Girls can go to school instead of walking miles every day, carrying water to their homes. Pregnant women are at less risk and their babies are born at bigger, healthier weights. Men can provide water for their cattle, which means they can provide for their families. Water doesn’t just bring hope; it brings life.
Will you join the IAS Clean Water Alliance today? Get involved by visiting IASwater.org!
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Andy Warhol once said, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” I’ve found that sentiment to hold true in my life. Certainly there have been times when twists and turns took me by surprise or God’s providence opened a door that I didn’t see in front of me. [...] Read story