Today’s Author: Anne Haugan

In 2004 I had the good fortune to be a participant of the first Water Well Drilling/Hygiene/Sanitation Team to go to Iringa, Tanzania. While four of the team drilled for water Lilly Olson and I were sent to the then four Lutheran Secondary Schools to work with the teachers and train them in good hygiene and sanitation behaviors. We spent five days in each village.

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The first thing Lilly and I did when we arrived in a village was to find the water source. We were appalled! Women and girls walked long distances to a water hole to carry home a bucket of muddy, contaminated water on their heads or they went down steep embankments to fill their buckets from a spring where the animals also drank.

At the closing worship services, I chose to use the story of the Good Samaritan Woman for the message. The teacher trainees immediately recognized that the prevalent health conditions of guinea worm, dysentery, typhoid, trachoma, and diarrhea could be prevented by using safe water and improved

hygiene behaviors. They danced and sang with joy. The scripture also ensured them that they needed the Living Water and desire for Jesus in their lives each and every day.

A few years later when Gus and I traveled to Bomalang’ombe it was a delight to find that the hygiene/sanitation behaviors had indeed improved.

Bomalang’ombe is a fortunate village as there is an Italian NGO (non-governmental organization) that built a dam in the uplands above the village and piped down safe water. Gus even got to help dig the trench for the pipe near the church. Several taps were installed, and safe water ran right out of the tap. For the villagers, this was a miracle.

Dear God, we are forever grateful for your gift of water, which gives us life and keeps us healthy. While we enjoy the beauty of our many lakes and streams which are sources of outdoor recreation, at the same time we are mindful of countries going through drought and flood; for our own country encountering drought and floodwaters. Help us cherish this valuable natural resource and be grateful for our homes with modern plumbing and for each drop of water we use.

Mid-week devotions are authored by members of our community.  If you are interested in creating a trio of reflections to be shared on an upcoming Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, contact Pastor Peter.