It is amazing how emotionally moving water filter days still are. They were the reason we first began to come to Kenya and since those early days with Start With One, the ministry has expanded to many other projects. Still, filter distribution days remain special (and always will) and remind me of so much that I take for granted living in America. No one ever has to worry about getting sick from drinking the water at my house. No one is perpetually ill from bad water that I have ever known about in my community. I never turn on the faucet and have nothing come out. Its always available – always as much as I need – and always drinkable. I had to come here to realize how truly blessed I am.
The proof of the value in what we do is the fact that several hundred people will come and stand or sit in the blazing equatorial sun for several hours waiting for the promise of clean water. This is not an instant solution to all their water challenges mind you. Most will still have to find water in their area – generally at a stream or well in the community. The water will still have to be collected and transported home. This takes time – sometimes hours per day, not to mention that out in the bush, it is still usually carried by hand back to the house. Water weighs approximately 8 lbs per gallon so carrying even 5 gallons of water will require a long walk with a container weighing 40 lbs or more. It is exhausting work and is usually performed by elderly women or young children. Then it will still need to be filtered – about 20 min for a 5 gallon bucket, before it can be used for drinking – or even for meal preparation. And yet they come because they know having this filter will prevent 3 of the top five killing diseases in their country – cholera, dysentery, and typhoid – with certainty. In fact, the effects of these filters have been so profound that in some communities the local pharmacies have had no more call for the medicines required for healing these diseases.
As we hand out the filters we are so often blessed by those receiving – “God bless you” “We thank God for sending you” “Praise God for you, thank you for coming.” It is easy for us often to simply plow off the impact of what we are doing simply because it feels so basic and its not an especially difficult thing to actually do. But mixed into the eyes of gratitude you can also see the look of a hard life lived – and I wonder of the stories those eyes could tell. But in these moments, even if briefly, I see a glimmer of hope – we’ve not been forgotten. From 8500 miles away, help has come – from others who love God like we do. They are deeply grateful and we are gratefully broken. We are glad to be here – it matters.
“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink”
Be sure to also check out Jim's team blog here.