Water is essential to life as oxygen is to our lungs. Up to 60% of the human adult body is composed of water. Water supports digestion, lubricates the joints, delivers oxygen throughout the body, regulates body temperature, and keeps us healthy and alive. In the United States and other developed countries, we can simply turn on a faucet and have clean, fresh water right at our finger tips.
For much of the world though this is not the case. It is hard to grasp that 780 million people lack access to clean water which is more that 2 ½ times the United States population. In the continent of Africa alone 345 million people live without access to clean water. We have heard statistics on the availability of water so many times that we have become numb to the fact that behind these statistics are real people. What if each of these people were our closest friends? Would we then develop more of a passion to take action?
SHAPE International addresses the difficult questions about sanitation and hygiene in the villages of Burundi.
This is one of the water tanks in the Cibitoke province of Burundi. They charge 20 Burundi francs (about 2 cents) to fill a 20L container. According to the non-profit Charity:Water, in Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water. Much of the water that they carry isn’t even considered safe to drink.
Here is a well in another village in Burundi.
John Mann of SHAPE International demonstrated how to use a solar powered water purification system through the process of electrolysis. Safe amounts of chlorine are used to sanitize the water.
At our home, John and Joshua Mann worked together to test the water purification system. This system has already made a difference in the villages of Burundi. Harmony Bible Church of Danville, Iowa has donated 21 water systems and taught leaders in the community how to operate them. Harmony Bible Church has helped to provide training to 90 people on how to run the units. The people who were trained have formed water teams that are providing the water purification services to 5 villages in Burundi. The teams are bringing hope to the villages that through their efforts the incidence of cholera, intestinal parasites, and other water borne diseases will someday be eradicated.