"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

6.29.2007

killing ourselves

Be sure you take a moment to read today's post, entitled "Killing Ourselves," in the Forty Day Fast. The post's author, a guy named Stephen, writes about the importance of clean water, how something so simple could make such a difference in billions of lives. He points his readers to an organization that helps to address these issues worldwide; give it a look as well.

Here in Goma, it's a cruel irony that we sit on the edge of a massive lake while the vast majority of the city's population has no access to clean drinking water. I'm willing to swim in Lake Kivu, but I won't drink water out of the tap. There are too many parasites and bacteria. I am, by local standards, rich, and so I can afford to buy my water, treated and purified and packed into nice blue bottles by Aquavie ("waterlife"), the local version of Poland Spring. I don't get sick from drinking water, I don't get dehydrated from not drinking water, and if by chance I get an upset stomach, I pop a few pills and go on with life.

Most of the water in Goma used by ordinary people is hauled in huge plastic jugs, either from the lake or from the occasional community water spigot. Most of the hauling is done by little girls, from ages 5-10 or so. There's also a public beach where some people go to wash their clothes, and a tarp shelter is set up for use as a shower. The beach reeks. On the beach, and at most of the other public access points to the lake, there are warnings about cholera and contaminated water. But what choice do you have if your only water supply is tainted wtih cholera? Or if the water you give your child to drink causes her to die from diarrhea?

In his post, Stephen quotes Derek Webb's new song, "This Too Shall Be Made Right." Angela shared this song with me in May:

"there’s a time for peace and there is a time for war
a time to forgive and a time to settle the score
a time for babies to lose their lives
a time for hunger and genocide
and this too shall be made right

"I don’t know the suffering of people outside my front door
I join the oppressors of those who i choose to ignore
I’m trading comfort for human life
and that’s not just murder it’s suicide
and this too shall be made right"


It's been haunting me ever since. Because some days it's hard to see how this too shall be made right.

1 Comments:

Anonymous the librarian said...

Are you familiar with Playpumps? I read about them in a Heifer publication. We gave them part of our mission offering at VBS this year. Check them out at www.playpumps.org.

Friday, June 29, 2007 5:38:00 PM

 

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