The team’s stop at a site where a water project has not yet been built makes clear to Kendall what we mean when we say, “Build wells. Change lives.”
Since we haven’t had wifi the past couple of days I’ll try to catch you up with what’s been going on with us. After spending two nights at the luxurious two-star hotel with no running water, we moved to a hotel in Ambo for the last two nights we are spending with this partner.
We now have running hot water – praise the Lord – and just in time too. Today’s sites were all located farther away and we got our workout in hiking around to the four different sites we visited. Hiking in Africa is no joke. Not only are the highlands incredibly steep, but the altitude alone will have you bent over trying to breathe. So by the time we got back to the hotel after hiking for so many sites, we were all hot and sweaty and in desperate need of a shower
Of the 4 sites we visited today, we visited two finished projects (a hand dug well and a spring well), a hand dug well under construction, and a new site that hasn’t begun construction yet. I really appreciated visiting the new site because we were able to see firsthand the water conditions these people currently have to deal with. There are 67 households using this one source and as you can see, there’s not a lot of water and what’s there is not clean in the slightest. The murky water was littered with bugs as well as microscopic leeches that can prove to be deadly if they are ingested and cause an infection in your throat.
While we were at the site we met a 14-year-old girl, Esther, as she was collecting water for her family to drink. She told us she was in fourth grade and that she travels an hour to this site twice a day to get water for her family. She also showed us a scar she has on the left side of her face under her ear. It’s a result of trying to do a traditional ear piercing with a thorn and it getting infected – most likely because the water she was cleaning it with is contaminated.
Time and time again in these travels, I am reminded of the beauty of Ethiopia, but also the need in Ethiopia. Seeing the current water source that Esther’s family and 66 other households drink from was eye-opening. I wouldn’t even want to wash my hands in it, and yet they are drinking from it.
I am reminded how fortunate we are in our lives. And yet we are also so fortunate to be involved in change that will have huge implications in the lives of those we serve…many of whom are young girls like Esther.