Every parent worries.
It comes with the job. I remember my parents giving us lectures on stranger danger and other things that could go wrong when we weren’t in their care. At the time, I thought they were crazy, but now, I completely get it and even start to panic when I think about trying to keep my future kids safe someday.
A stretched-thin Mama
The mothers and fathers in Rwanda worry, too, but their worries are obviously a bit different than ours. For example, Dominah is a single mother of 4. Her husband died 8 years ago, and she works hard to make sure her kids are fed. But for the longest time, there was one worry she was helpless against: getting clean water.
The nearest water point was far away, down a steep hillside path. Because the journey took so long, there was no time to fetch water in the morning; instead, the kids would have to go after school. The walk was incredibly difficult (think of an expert level hike…then add a few gallons of water), and as the children grew tired, they’d drink some of the water they had fetched.
This was problematic because that water that they worked so hard to get wasn’t even clean. Her children ended up in the hospital twice a month. And even when everyone was healthy, life was difficult. The water often wouldn’t last through the next morning, which meant Dominah and her children went to work and school thirsty.
A nervous Papa
A few doors down from Dominah and her family, Jean Pierre lives with his wife and 4-year-old son. Since their son is so young, he’s never been burdened with the task of fetching water. Instead, that’s been Jean Pierre’s job.
Grown men won’t often admit when something scares them, but Jean Pierre talked about how difficult the water journey was, especially at night. The steep path was hard to see, and there was always the fear of wild animals.
He struggled knowing that children had to make that same walk. He heard horror stories about how those same kids would get so dehydrated without water during the school day that they would drink from muddy puddles in the road on their way home.
Hope for a future
Those stories may be hard to read or imagine, but they have an incredibly happy ending thanks to Blood:Water. Dominah, Jean Pierre, and their 900 neighbors now have access to clean water. The walk for water is now much shorter, and the community’s health has improved.
Dominah’s children haven’t been to the hospital in quite some time, and school is easier now that they have time for homework at night.
Jean Pierre and his wife have big dreams for their little boy, including avoiding the struggles they’ve faced.
Who knew something as simple as water could alleviate a heavy burden from these parents’ shoulders?
The next generation
This village is forever changed, but there are so many other neighborhoods and schools across Rwanda and Africa who don’t have access to clean water. These communities have parents who are still in the midst of their worries and are carrying that heavy burden of keeping their children healthy.
That’s what School Bells and Water Wells is all about next week, and I can’t wait to get started.