Today you will wash your hands, grab a drink of tap water, soak in the tub, water your lawn, get the car washed, or fill the dog’s bowl with fresh clean water. “We all know that ‘wash your hands’ is the first way to eradicate disease, how can we do that when we don’t even have water to drink?” Sounds simple to fix doesn’t it? The reality is it’s a daily chore for the children at Ndekesha Mission, 10km south of Kazumba. Women and children walk 3-5 km to fetch water to cook and drink. They draw the water from the river and its streams where others are bathing or using it as a restroom.
There are no water sources for the 16,000 that live in the mission’s villages. No taps, fountains, boreholes or large diameter wells. Just dilapidated rain wells at the Missionary Institute Friends of Christ Sisters’ convent that provide rainwater – when it rains.
Women and children slowly carry this fetid water in dirty containers upon their heads. Back and forth each day walking 3-5 km consuming 2-5 hours of their day. They have no choice. Water is critical to sustaining life. They have nowhere else to get it from.
Water is life. Can we count on you to provide water for their life?
Fr. Emile Tshisekedi, pastor at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Ndekesha, knows how desperate the situation is, “If the need for drinking water is real in all our country (the DRC) in general, it’s worst in Ndekesha.” Children and their families get sick from water borne illnesses and diseases like diarrhea, malaria, and dracunculiasis.
Dr. Nkole Victor, physician at Ndekesha general hospital, says 20% of those hospitalized have Malaria – caused by dirty hands. Access to clean water could change that.
Lack of clean water threatens their health and education. Children in Ndekesha grow up with unclean habits. They can’t wash their hands. They can’t bathe. They can’t wash their clothes. But you can change that. You can provide clean water.
They have rain water collection tanks. But they are dangerous. Young Emmanuel Noel was playing with some other children and fell into an open collection tank and tragically died. You can prevent further injury, illnesses, or worse.
Every day, women and children go back and forth to the river, walking miles and spending up to 5 hours carrying water in large containers upon their heads.
Malaria, river blindness and other painful diseases are all directly related to drinking polluted water.
The current rainwater wells in the area are dangerous – sometimes even deadly.
Many children in the community are deprived of even a basic education because they spend so many hours fetching water just to survive.
If the need for drinking water is real in
all our country [the DRC] in general, it’s worst in Ndekesha,” says a local priest.
Can you help the Ndekesha Missions and create a borehole and safe access to clean drinking water? A borehole will decrease water borne illnesses. Promote health and hygiene. Eliminate hours spent locating water. Allow women and children time to focus on school and community.
During the dry season, water can be used to grow gardens. Income will become diversified. Children will thrive in school. There can be a focus on education and proper hygiene – lifting human dignity and the desire for self-care.
The sisters lovingly care for the orphans who are given a Christian education and introduced to the sacraments. These children grow up with the love of the Catholic Church. And with the love that Christ puts in each of our hearts to care for one another.
You can provide clean water that will ripple out into the community. The sisters care for elderly in hospice, formation of youth in schools, and for the sick in the hospitals. They also serve as outreach to other women in the village. By sharing the faith, they teach women in the village to be truly Christian. They subscribe Msgr. Martin Bakole’s observation that “to evangelize is to develop.” They care for so many. Can we count on you to show you care by providing clean water?