“How many times have your children been sick in the last six months?” I asked.
“Too many to count,” replied the group sitting before me in the Oltukai area of Tanzania.
At the end of Oltukai’s dry season, the water sources in this area turn into nothing more than mud puddles. The cows and goats drink from these watering holes, the same water where women wash their clothes. They fill their buckets, carry them back to their homes, and then use the water for both cooking and drinking.
The Massai people value their ancient traditions deeply, and educational progress is slow in this area. Many of their ideas about sickness and health are still informed by superstition. As a result, they have not fully embraced the reality that dirty water could be making their children ill.
e3 Community Transformation helps people identify their greatest problems so the Church and community can use the available resources to solve those needs. In Oltukai, it was clear to the people that their children’s health was a priority. While the solutions are still complex, it was a critical first step in solving the problem.
The local churches now educate the community about the benefits of clean, safe water. The pastors’ families freely offer the use of ceramic water filters in their homes to neighbors. The filtered water is 99.9% purified of harmful bacteria and parasites that cause dysentery, typhoid, cholera, and other life-threatening diseases. Additionally, the filters that the pastors use are locally-sourced. As the community accepts to the benefits of the filters, they can invest in them for their own homes.
But the ministry does not stop there. In addition to sharing clean water with their neighbors, the pastors have also been telling their neighbors about the Living Water who does not dry up. While meeting the physical needs of the community, the pastors are able to address their spiritual needs as well. As a result, the local churches in Oltukai have become the transforming institution within the community.
For the Massai people, there is hope. Hope for a healthier life for these men, women and children because they now have clean, safe water within walking distance of their homes. Even more, they have hope for abundant life through the love of Christ.
Written by Susan Kelly.
Want to learn more about e3 Community Transformation? Click here.