Taking water for granted

A word from our Director, Lauren,

I woke early dealing with a little jet lag after my recent return from Kenya. It was 4:30 a.m. so I thought I’d get some things done. I unpacked, ran a load of laundry, and had a couple cups of delicious Kenyan coffee. Then, just before the sun came up, I turned the sprinklers on before jumping into the shower. How grateful I was for clean water and how keenly aware I’d become of it.

 

I’d just spent time meeting residents of the remote villages of Subukia and Bahati. They think about ways to get water to their homes every day – it’s always on their mind. Unlike us, they are unable to simply turn a knob inside their home to enjoy a bacteria-free, cool drink of water, or run out back to water their garden with a hose or sprinkler.  It’s a bit more complicated than that. In fact, the only water that comes their way either falls from the sky or flows deep beneath their feet. The trick is how to capture it and get it home.

 

We have been working diligently to provide access to water to these communities since their relocation from the Kieni refugee camp. The 1000 liter tanks previously installed at each home captures rain runoff but only lasts an average of about 2 weeks. When the dry season comes, women and children must walk to larger tanks we installed about the community. Water is carried home in five-gallon “jerry” cans. That’s about 44 pounds per can!

 

In recent years, Kenya has experienced more floods and likewise, longer periods of drought that cause our friends to struggle greatly. Monsoon winds deliver the heaviest rain in late April through early June. From then through October there is very little rainfall, then short rains come for a few weeks in November and December. After that, Kenya is hot and dry until the cycle begins again. A monsoon’s torrential downpour only lasts an hour or so, then the equatorial sun dries the wet ground in minutes. Without a means to capture it, life-giving water simply disappears.

 

The solution we hope to provide for the people of Bahati is to install a second tank at homes with family plots used for subsistence farming. With access to consistent water during dry times, these families will grow larger crops that will not only feed themselves but can be sold at market. An additional 5,000-liter tank costs approximately $600 and there are about 40 homes that would benefit from consistent water flowing to their family farm. $24,000 will take care of this critical need.

 

In Subukia, our partner, World Vision, installed a bore well, pump, and diesel powered generator. The problem is that our friends cannot afford the fuel to get the water from underground to their tanks. Our Expansion International Africa partners are beseeching the power company to extend electricity to the village but it may take some time. Donations have come in to provide the hook-up fees which will enable water to flow. Please pray for a favorable outcome with the power company on behalf of the families of Subukia.

 

Water is a very big deal, indeed, but I know it’s something we can provide if we continue to band together.

                                                                                                   

 

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