“And whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of my disciples, I promise you, he will not go unrewarded” (Matthew 10:42, TPT).
It may sound obvious, but a dry season is a time when rain simply does not fall. All over the world, dry seasons come once a year. People plan around their dry season, preparing their lives for a time when little rain will fall. Water reservoirs slowly empty as families focus on the day when rain will come again.
In Honduras, the dry season can last from November until May. Water shortages are normal in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, where over 300 of ERDO’s ChildCARE Plus sponsored children and their families live. As a city with a high percentage of urban poverty, many families struggle to find water—clean or otherwise.
Typically, a reservoir in the mountains collects rainwater which is delivered by truck to families in Tegucigalpa and the surrounding area. In the dry season, water does not arrive on time. Families who rely on these truck deliveries can quickly run out of water. Without water a family cannot make a meal or clean or stay hydrated under the warm Honduran sun.
Kathy Mizen, our PAOC global worker in Honduras, writes, “It’s heartbreaking to me and unbelievable, really. Something that is ‘supposed’ to be one of the most basic necessities of life is not [readily available] for thousands of people, even millions around the world. Most of us really cannot fully grasp that.” 1
ERDO brings clean water and hygiene programs into communities that are facing dry seasons, experiencing drought, and drinking from contaminated water sources. In Honduras, we have been installing household and school biosand water filters to help families and students clean their drinking water and avoid illness. Last year we installed a new school washroom in an extremely low-income school in the mountains surrounding Tegucigalpa.
When ERDO drills new wells, installs washrooms, handwashing stations and water filters, we see a huge improvement in people’s overall health. Childhood illness is reduced and school attendance increases. Adults do not miss work due to waterborne diseases, and they can take better care of their families. We know that access to clean water make a huge difference—cup by cup.
This year, we are launching a new campaign called a Million Cups of Water. Our goal is to raise $100,000 for clean water programs and supply one million cups of water to people in need this year. It is an ambitious goal, but one that will continue helping people for many years to come.
Funds raised through Million Cups of Water will create clean water wells in places like rural Bangladesh. Working with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Bangladesh, we have a long history of installing deep tube wells to keep families from drinking water that is laced with arsenic and other toxins. In these small communities, most people work as day labourers, travelling to larger cities each morning to find a job for the day. But working presents a problem. Since families must travel several hours to collect clean water, they will miss the opportunity to find a job for the day. If they do not collect water, they will return home exhausted at the end of the workday to find they have no water in their house. Since water is necessary for cooking, they will not have an evening meal or anything to drink.
Mitali, a 22-year-old mother from Bangladesh, said, “Life was complicated without clean water. My husband and I could cope, but my three-year-old daughter could not.” With a child to care for, the decision weighed heavily on Mitali each day. When ERDO installed a well in Mitali’s village, life became much simpler.
Parvati is another mother who was also a day labourer in Bangladesh. When her young daughter became sick by drinking water from a nearby pond, Parvati stopped working. The villagers bathed, washed their clothing, and cleaned their animals in the pond. Parvati boiled the pond water before using it for drinking, but the water was still contaminated. Her young daughter was taken to a hospital and started her very long recovery period.
The family was considering moving, leaving their friends behind to find a village with clean water. Then ERDO installed a well in Parvati’s village. Parvati and her husband could stay without worrying about the safety of their children.
Parvati said, “It is not wealth that saves a person’s life but a few drops of fresh water that make enormous changes in life and living. Without having safe water we are like [the] desert and dry mud. We are nothing.” Seeing her daughter come so close to death, Parvati deeply understands the value of clean water.
Both Parvati and Mitali lived for years without access to clean water and suffered deeply every day worrying about where they would find water. Thanks to the incredible generosity of Canadian churches and donors, ERDO was able to help families like theirs.
To join in providing one million cups of clean water to families in need, visit erdo.ca/clean-water to donate or to read more about the Million Cups of Water campaign.
Alicia Kolenda is the marketing and communications co-ordinator at ERDO.
- Kathy Mizen, “Where does your water come from?”
Kathy’s Adventures, February 28, 2020, accessed January 24, 2022, https://pkmizen.wordpress.com/2020/02/28/where-does-your-water-come-from.
This article appeared in the April/May/June 2022 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2022 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photos © istockphoto.com.