LIFEWATER IN AFRICA: STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Copyright © 2006 by Jeff Bjorck. All rights reserved.
Reproduction without permission is prohibited.
EPILOGUE: STORIES FROM THE FIELD
What follows are several stories told to me by various participants. These stories were in response to my question, “What is a story from your own experience that helps you persevere on those days when you feel like quitting this difficult work?” The responses below are primarily in their own words, edited only for brevity or for clarity due to English being a second language.
Mr. Moses Deleo Ocen of Divine Waters Uganda told the following: One story that really moved my heart occurred when we went to help [a community] who were drinking [unsafe water] from this lake. When we got there….we discovered there was a small boy who had lost an arm to a crocodile because he was going to get this water from the lake. As he was fetching the water, the crocodile got him and he lost an arm. And I said, “My goodness, this is tough!” You know, somebody wants water and it’s in the lake and the crocodile was also in the lake. [After we drilled one well]…I saw how much we still needed to do. There were many communities who were still drinking from around the lake. So that really touched my heart to see a boy who had lost an arm in trying to get water from the lake. That story never gets out of my mind.
Ms. Benedita Penicela of United Methodist Church’s Living Water Society in Mozambique, relayed the following: I went to Gaza province, a place afflicted by permanent drought…. One thing that shocked me the first time I went there was that the children would bring bottles of water as gifts for their teacher. I saw the bottles and asked what they were for, and I was told it was for drinking. This water was [the color of] tea! It was supposed to be clean water for their teacher. Every child would bring one liter to her teacher because she could not get her own because she was teaching. But now the situation has changed because they have clean water and the children do not need to bring those bottles!”
This year I went [back] just to check, and the chieftain there received us very well, and he told us, “What you have done here is more than if you had brought truckloads of food. Our government only remembers us when it’s election time. They come then with propaganda. But what you have done, there are no words to describe the miracle!”
Mr. Edward Kiwanuka of Uganda’s Deliverance Church and JOY Drilling shared: There was a home of street children who were orphaned and who were gathered in a home a few miles away from Kampala. And there was a lady who was trying to help them, train them, give them some skills, but she is short on funds. One of the major problems they had was water. They would draw water from the swamps near Lake Victoria, and the water was colored grey! I saw it with my eyes! The children would go there, collect that water, bathe with that, wash with that colored water. And then this lady linked up with one of the people we had been working with Blood Water Mission who are also related to Lifewater, and she explained her story. They sent us to the site. We saw this need, we made a recommendation, and a well was successfully drilled at that home. My! The Change! When you see the clean water the children are now using, you just want to raise your hands and thank God! Secondly, this helped the whole community. The home was isolated from the rest of the community. But when this well came, we brought the Jesus film, we invited the community, and the lady managing the home said that the community could also have water. Now the community has access to the water and there is also a relationship with this home that had previously been isolated and the people from the neighboring village. This blessed my heart! In addition, having the well inside the compound of this home was good because going outside was not safe. So now the children are safer and they have more time to study instead of fetching water!