Water Matters

The latest on our work and those supporting it

Smiles are only the beginning

The most amazing this about this photograph is that it doesn’t even begin to tell the story of what will happen in this place.

Yet, so often, we get caught up in images like these. Don’t get me wrong, there is every reason to. The first drops of clean, safe water for a school bring dramatic and immediate changes.  In an instant, children – often young girls – are freed from the daily burden of carrying water from a far away stream or infested pond. Water is used for washing and cleaning, restoring dignity and pride. Crops are irrigated and parched plants begin to show new signs of life as the fear of hunger subsides. Stomach aches fade and soccer games take on a new found energy. Childhood resumes.

But it’s the unseen that is truly remarkable. When you step back for a moment, another image emerges.

When I gaze into these faces, I see the future. I see young men and women engaged in learning. I see healthy, rested minds hard at work. I see this young girl, Purity, with time to dream about what she’ll be when she grows up. I see a market stand opening, packed with vegetables and crafts – products of fertile fields and productive hands. I see a leader, Steve, inspired by what someone did for him, yearning to help his own neighbor escape poverty.

I’ll admit though, I still get caught up in the moment. Water flowing, children splashing, and everyone cheering the opening of a new well will do that. In our narrowly focused world, we’re so used to goals and accomplishments. We love to celebrate what is “finished.” But if we stop there, we’ll miss the fullness of what is happening.

So let’s not forget that today is day one. The hard work of the next steps begin now. Hope is only beginning to bear fruit.

Then, when we celebrate with a community or a school like this one, we can celebrate things that we’ll likely never see – future events that we’ll certainly not have a hand in. We can celebrate Purity’s graduation from high school. Or Steve’s successful new enterprise, fresh out of university. We can cheer as a new school is constructed or as the local church fulfills its mission and raises nearby villages from poverty. We can celebrate things we cannot even imagine.

That’s what it means to join in their story. That’s what it means to hope for Steve and with Purity, and all their friends at the Care Compassion Orphanage.

When water comes… everything changes. These smiles are only the beginning.

What do you see?

 

Make Something, Learn Something, Love People

“Every day we make something, we learn something, and we try to love people.”

That’s the goal, every day, for the Lowe family from Abilene, Texas.

We met Matt, Amy and their two children, Liam and Mary when they called recently about starting a fundraising page so that Liam, pictured here with Dad, could love people by helping build wells in Africa.

As we read through Liam’s page, we met a remarkable young man who has spent many months over the last year battling leukemia in a Texas hospital.  Things had been going well.  Liam had even recently been home for a month in Abilene, in remission.

But Liam soon spiked a fever that just wouldn’t go away.  While checking up on the fever and a few other symptoms in the emergency room, they discovered his cancer was back.

Continue Reading »

 

Southwest Chicago Christian School Raises $26,000

Faith in Action Overflows to Four Communities

Students at Southwest Chicago Christian School in Tinley Park, Illinois have been learning about the lack of clean water available to people throughout the world.   As Principal Terry Huizenga wrote, “After hearing that one out of every six people in the world do not have access to clean water and that often women and young children walk more than five miles a day in order to obtain water, students decided to take action.”

In the spirit of the school’s vision statement, “A Christ-Centered Learning Community Intent on Restoring God’s World,” the students raised $26,000.   Students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade participated in a walkathon in the fall of the 2010-2011 school year, with the purpose of raising awareness and funds for people in developing nations who lack safe drinking water.  The result?  Four communities will have clean water … three in Kenya, and one in Rwanda.  Now that’s faith in action.

But the students didn’t stop at fundraising; they also took time to care about the communities on a greater level.  “As Southwest Christian partnered with the Water Project for this important work, they have also been praying that the communities who receive the wells will come to know the love of Christ through their gift of clean water. “, says Principal Huizenga.

Check out the well projects in Kenya and Rwanda that are possible because of students taking action and making a difference:

See their Projects Here

You can host a walkathon in your community too.  Contact us for a guide of helpful tips to planning this type of event.

 

Changamwe urban sanitation project taking shape!

I’ve been spending quite a lot of time with a men’s support group in Changamwe recently, an informal urban
settlement on the main Nairobi road out of Mombasa.

David and Herbert, members of Changamwe Men's Support Group at the proposed site

They have developed a proposal for a sanitation block in their community, involving three or four flush toilets and
a shower. The idea is that people will pay per use of the facility, and through this the group can raise funds for
another similar project in the future as well as provide support for AIDs affected families in the community.
The site is small, around 5m by 3m, but ideally located to the main road, and right next to the municipal water line
and the sewerage network. The group are also keen to include a community space in the project, to allow them to facilitate HIV awareness events and hold Voluntary Community Testing (VCT) evenings.
As well as support from TWP, the group are also working closely with Women Fighting AIDs in Kenya (WOFAK), a well established respected NGO with substantial experience of working in slum settlements in Kenya.
At this point we’re in the discussion stage, and are committed to facilitating the design process and workshop sessions. When we have some coherent plans and a decent proposal, we’re also very keen on the idea of funding the construction process, and as such entering into the world of urban water and sanitation. At the same time, TWP is talking to WOFAK about on – going support, and about ensuring that the group have the capacity to handle their income and maintain the facility in the long run.
Good, exciting, progress. Watch this space!