“The children were always sick,” Hildebrado Ruiz Sosa told us about his community in Nina Rumi, Peru. “We consumed water from the rivers and wells, and it wasn’t a healthy life for us. Sometimes the children were infected with parasites, and they always had stomach aches. We suffered a lot from many illnesses.”
Sadly, this is something we hear over and over in the communities we serve. While dirty water can be time-consuming to collect and hinder the growth of a village in a variety of ways, its most devastating impact is on the health of community members.
Today, waterborne illnesses remain a leading cause of death around the world, according to the World Health Organization. At any given time, research suggests that 50 percent of hospital beds in the developing world are filled with people suffering from water-related diseases.
Most of these illnesses are contracted by drinking or bathing with water that has been contaminated with dangerous bacteria like fecal matter. Even if the water is obviously dirty, most people don’t have any other option.
April 7 is World Health Day — an opportunity to reflect on the global health crises that affect our neighbors around the world. At Water Mission, we know that the lack of clean, safe water plays a critical role in the health and well-being of billions of people.
In fact, one-third of the world’s population lacks access to safe water. But thankfully, that’s not the end of the story. Water-related diseases are preventable. And as we provide safe water, we have the joy of watching communities like Nina Rumi flourish.
After friends like you helped us install a safe water treatment system in Nina Rumi, Hildebrado told us, “There is a great difference, a truly great change since we got treated water. The entire village received [this project] with a lot of affection and love, and [they] are consuming this treated water. Our health has improved a lot, and we do not get sick anymore! We are very thankful.”
In Nina Rumi, the residents’ experience with safe water also fostered a greater unity, kindness, and understanding of God within the community.
Over the course of the safe water project, our local staff members held several community-wide meetings to engage the people of Nina Rumi in the initiative and listen to their insights. As Christianity is the primary religion in Peru, our staff were able to start each meeting with prayer and a short Bible reading.
“You could see a change in the neighbors from hearing the word of God,” Hildebrado said. “There hadn’t been anything like this in Nina Rumi. To me, it seems perfect to start a meeting with prayer and reading God’s word. The community receives it with joy and happiness, and they understand more about God.”
Hildebrado now works for Water Mission as one of the daily operators of Nina Rumi’s safe water system. He often distributes the treated water to community members’ homes and has noticed the neighbors taking care of each other in new ways.
“The community knows the day and time that we are going to arrive, and if someone isn’t there to collect the water when the operator comes, their neighbor gets their water for them,” he told us. “There’s more understanding now because we know that no one can be without treated water.”
Give safe water this Easter season to help communities like Nina Rumi flourish with health and freedom!