Water is life, and because we have no water, life is miserable.
-a voice from Kenya
Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of all sickness and disease, and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours every day to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Additionally, collecting water puts them at greater risk of sexual harassment and assault. Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old. Some other interesting statistics I found include:
-At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.
-Children in poor environments often carry approximately 1,000 parasitic worms in their little bodies at any given time. Some of these worms can grow up to 3 ft. in length and once full grown will burrow out a person’s skin causing crippling pain and infections.
-An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
-Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
These statistics are incredibly heartbreaking and the clean water crisis that the developing world continues to endure has been weighing heavily on my heart for awhile now. So you can imagine my excitement when the opportunity to actually go do something about it crossed my path! The opportunity came up through an organization called Assist International (run by my old pastor, Tim Reynolds). Assist International is a humanitarian organization that provides assistance and relief supplies to the poor and needy in developing nations. One of the many projects they take on is setting up systems to provide clean water. Since graduating in 2006 with a degree in mechanical engineering, it has been a dream of mine to use my skills to meet tangible needs in this world. When it turned out that the two years of experience I gained in the petrolium industry (before we joined staff with Campus Crusade) was directly applicable to this project, and Assist needed someone with engineering experience to help, AND I had the time and freedom to do so… I knew that God was at work and I jumped at the chance. A bonus on top of everything is that because this trip is sponsored byGeneral Electric, I will be receiving a large stipend for my work to put towards our financial goal for Campus Crusade!
So tonight my journey to Honduras begins. Tomorrow I will be in a city called Olanchito, working at a hospital that currently uses dirty water. Specifically we will be installing a water filtration system (in layman’s terms…it filters all the bad stuff out of the water) – check that bad boy out below! I’ll be in Honduras for 5 days and by next week, if all goes as planned, they will have access to filtered and purified water for their patients. I am so privileged and excited to be a part of this amazing work to bring the gospel to many in Olanchito in a tangible way. It’s so exciting to imagine all the lives that will literally be saved and changed just through this one system! “For…I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” -Jesus
Please pray for safe travels and safety within the country as well (Honduras is a country with much political unrest). Check back in a couple weeks for pictures and thoughts on the whole experience!