Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Living Water

Many of you know that I went on a mission trip to Kenya in September. I have not blogged about the trip yet for a few reasons. First, I feel like my words can't possibly do it justice. There is no way I can possibly describe the life changing impact it has had on me in a few paragraphs on this blog. Second, I feel like once I open the floodgates, I may never be able to close them. So you'll have to forgive me if I now blog about Kenya on a regular basis and if those blogs are more than a paragraph or two which I highly anticipate this one turning out to be. There are just so many things.

So the post I will break my silence with is titled "Living Water" because I want to talk about water. One of the most amazing things we were able to do in Kenya was to go to water well sites in very remote villages and meet the communities of people these wells were going to help. First let's put things into perspective. Here is a quote from the Living Water International Website:

Water, the stuff of life and a basic human right, is at the heart of a daily crisis faced by more than ONE BILLION of the world's most vulnerable people - a crisis that threatens life and consigns large segments of humanity to chronic disease, poverty, and insecurity. Water-related disease is the single largest killer of infants in developing countries - diarrhea alone causes 1.8 million child deaths each year - and access to safe water is the most important factor in the survival of children under the age of five. Nearly HALF of all people in developing countries are suffering from water-related health problems. The annual number of deaths from water-related diseases is six times greater than the number of deaths from armed violence.
One third of all deaths in developing nations are children under the age of five, compared to less than 1% in developed nations. The leading cause? The 5 billion cases of diarrhea suffered by children in underprivileged countries. Some 1.8 million of these children die each year as a direct result of chronic diarrhea - that's 4,900 every day.

All of those things are a direct result of having unsafe water. Water - it's definitely something we take for granted. We have it to: fill our bath tubs, water our grass, swim in, brush our teeth, make ice so our drinks can be cold, wash our pets, flush our toilets, clean our dishes, fill our washing machines so our clothes can be clean, and of course, to drink. The list could go on and on. I think you get the picture. I once saw an ad that said "1.1 billion people's drinking water looks like this." It had a picture of some semi-brown liquid in a water bottle. I get the point, but I don't believe it. I don't believe it, because I've seen what the water so many are forced to drink looks like and it doesn't look like that...it's WORSE. It's not even the consistency of water...think milkshake. It's muddy and thick and has all kinds of waste in it. I watched people digging holes 6 and 7 feet deep in dry river beds hoping that maybe they would be "lucky" enough to find water like I described. Needless to say, seeing this all first hand has changed the way I think about water. The other day we set up a water slide in our yard for my girls to enjoy. It's one where you hook up the hose to it, so it has a continuous flow of water going down. I certainly enjoyed watching them have fun on it, but not without thinking of how the water we had running out of that hose so my kids could have fun would impact an entire community of people in Kenya and probably save some children's lives. I am changed. I don't know that I will ever be able to brush my teeth or take a long shower without thinking of the millions of people who will NEVER have those same luxuries. Not only that, but children who will not live to be older than my five year old because they have no clean water to drink.

The slide show I have added to this post is all pictures I took of two water well sites in Kenya and the people those wells are going to help. We had the privilege of being there with the community when the water was pumped out of that well for the very first time. I never knew seeing running water could be so emotional. It was so symbolic. As soon as the water started to flow, so did my tears. I was overwhelmed. These people I was standing in the midst of had never seen running water in their lives. What we were all witnessing was not just water running out of a pipe. It was LIFE. There was one boy in particular who really drove the point home for me. As soon as the water began to flow, he ran over to it and began just throwing it on himself. He was washing his feet in it, throwing it all over his body, and drinking it as fast as he could. It was as if he could not get the water on his body fast enough. You will see many pictures of him in the slide show.

I truly could go on and on, but I better stop myself before you stop reading. So, I'll leave you with this: Next time you brush your teeth or jump into a refreshing pool, take a relaxing bath or drink an ice cold glass of water, maybe take a moment to think about all of the people who have no water to speak of and if you have time, say a prayer for them. I know it's a mountain of a problem, that we feel like we have no chance at fixing. But just to change our thinking is empowering. To stop taking the millions and millions of gallons of water we use for granted is a start in the right direction. There are tons of great organizations that are focused on getting this problem under control and hopefully one day, solving it. I pray that day comes soon. If you would like more information on Living Water International click here.

*make sure your sound is turned on


Lacey said...

I had no idea you went and did that. What a life changing experience. Did you do it through fellowship?? Wow...that's about all I can say. Your pictures gave me chills and tears. How spoiled we all are and we hardly even think about it or know it. Thanks for the reminder.

Lindsay Miller said...


Yes I went through Fellowship. It's funny b/c I had never been on any type of mission trip and I'd never really been out of the country (besides Mexico), but when they mentioned the trip, I "knew" I had to go. It was so clear to me. I definitely am forever changed by that trip and I wish I could go back every year. It has changed my perspective on so many things.