Clean Water for Africa

Clean Water for Africa

Clean Water for Africa. When 9-year-old Nyabwiri and her family need to wash clothes, cook meals, or drink water, they can’t just turn on a faucet. Since Nyabwiri joined Compassion’s program in 2007, she gets safe drinking water at her child development center. But without the convenience of running water in their small home in the Tanzanian village of Mabatini, Nyabwiri and her family devote a significant amount of time to water-related chores.

By Willow Welter
Photos by Chuck Bigger   |   Posted: September 30, 2014

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  |   Posted: September 30, 2014

Since Nyabwiri joined Compassion’s program in 2007, she gets safe drinking water at her child development center. But without the convenience of running water in their small home in the Tanzanian village of Mabatini, Nyabwiri and her family devote a significant amount of time to water-related chores.

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Nyabwiri’s after-school tasks include filling jugs and buckets with water from a stream to carry home, where she lives with her single mother, older sister and two other relatives. Nyabwiri’s mom, Maria, sells tomatoes at a market but doesn’t earn enough to meet all her family’s needs.

When Compassion’s local church workers in Nyabwiri’s community came to her home in 2007 and told Maria how the Child Sponsorship Program could help her family, Maria registered her daughter. Nyabwiri has been writing letters to her sponsors, Randy and Gail Williams in Canada, ever since.

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Nyabwiri peels potatoes and places them in a pot of water to be boiled over an open fire outside, which serves as the family’s kitchen stove. Because water from the stream — the source nearest to their home — isn’t safe to drink, the family boils the stream water before drinking or cooking with it. Compassion gave the family money to buy pots and pans.

In communities like Nyabwiri’s — where drinking unclean water causes typhoid, cholera and other life-threatening illnesses — Compassion partners with donors to put in improvements such as wells and latrines to help keep at-risk children healthy and give them more time for education.

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Nyabwiri balances a bucket of water weighing about 30 pounds during one of her regular 10-minute treks from the stream to her home. The U.N. estimates that in developing countries women and girls — who do 90 percent of all water-and food-gathering — walk an average of 3.7 miles daily to collect water.

Because living near an improved water source frees up time for more productive activities, school attendance in Tanzania is 12 percent higher for girls like Nyabwiri who live 15 minutes or less from a water source than for those who live an hour or more away, according to the U.N. Nyabwiri attends school and hopes to be a nurse when she grows up.

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Nyabwiri helps wash clothes in a bucket of soapy stream water, then rinses them in a separate bucket. Maria says Compassion helps her buy clothing for Nyabwiri.

In addition to washing and drying clothing, Nyabwiri collects firewood as one of her chores.

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Before getting ready for bed, Nyabwiri brushes her teeth and washes her face with water that has been boiled in a teapot. Compassion’s local church partners teach sponsored children about the importance of hygiene, and the children take those lessons home with them.

Since joining Compassion’s program, Nyabwiri has begun praying each morning and night, says her mom, and even shares the gospel with children who aren’t in the program.