Water: A Cycle of Life or Death
Mary squinted at the pale beam of light peeking through the fibrous ceiling of her home.
Outside, she heard the familiar sound of chickens pecking at the red Rwandan dirt searching for their morning breakfast of insects and grub worms. The rhythmic swoosh from her mother’s woven grass broom whisking away the ashes from last night’s cooking fire signaled it was time to get up.
Rising from her mat on the floor, Mary glanced enviously at her younger sister, still curled up comfortably, caught in the hazy bliss of her dreams.
It wouldn’t be long before she was old enough to join Mary on her long morning walks to gather water for the family before school.
As she made her way down the narrow dirt path, yellow jerry can swinging from her side, Mary glanced over her shoulder at the shape of her mother crouched by the cooking fire. Her mouth formed an “o” as she gently breathed life back into the barely smoldering coals.
Twenty years ago during the genocide, her mother had only been 15, Mary’s age now . . . but with a very different life. One early morning in May, rebel soldiers stormed into her home and slaughtered her entire family in cold blood—her mother, father, and two little brothers.
Mary’s mother had been fetching water, so she was saved from the massacre, but not from the gruesome scene that awaited her return. Terrified that the soldiers would come back, she hid in the bush for weeks until the hate-induced slaughter finally ended . . . grief-stricken, starving, and alone. The sun was beating down, but Mary shivered under the weight of her mother’s haunting past.
After kneeling to draw water from the stagnant pool, Mary struggled to lift her jerry can, now full to the brim with the murky, lukewarm substance. Her mouth was dry but she hesitated to drink. Along with the rest of her family, she often fell sick—sometimes for weeks—from using this water source. She was already behind three grade levels in school because of it.
The walk for water that had saved her mother’s life 20 years ago was now taking the life from her own children . . . from Mary . . . slowly and deliberately, day by day.
Today, Mary’s family share their mornings together in a whole new way. The new causelife well that was built near her home produces clean, safe, drinking water for the entire community of Gicaca, impacting over 8,000 people.
Because of the proximity of the new well, Mary’s walk for water is short, and she even has time to enjoy breakfast with her mother and sister before heading off to school. She is also enjoying prolonged seasons of good health . . . a gift that has enabled Mary to catch up with her classmates in school. She dreams of becoming an accountant one day.
Providing access to a clean-water source is one way you can impact the lives of people around the world through World Help’s Christmas Gift Catalog. Clean water is the catalyst for a spectrum of positive change . . . the foundation for new generations of people to thrive like never before.
And Mary is one of them.
This Christmas, please join us in giving to those in need by bringing change . . . and providing hope. Whether it’s digging water wells in Rwandan communities, taking God’s Word to those who have never heard, or feeding refugees suffering through the harsh winter weather, there’s plenty of ways to make a difference.
Together, we can do so much more than just meet a need. We can change lives . . . and restore futures from the ashes of the past.