My Journey to Africa
In July, I set out on a journey. As one of the newest members of the staff here at Blood:Water, the journey was my first trip to visit local partners on the ground in Africa. Leading up to the trip, I tried to prepare myself mentally and physically for what I would experience along the way. I would personally describe the trip as the best way to experience as much of the work happening in Africa as possible during a two week period. Our goal, to collect as many of their stories as we could. Here’s the facts our three-person team laid out before we left:
13 flights. 16 airports. 48 hours in airports. 64 hours in the air. 3 countries. 3 local partners. 2 weeks. Countless stories of individual lives in need of something we take for granted every day.
Looking back, the best way to tell this story is to tell it from the top.
The first night in Turbi, Africa with our local partner:
Turbi, Kenya, is approximately 60 miles from the Ethiopian border. And it is in the desert. Like most deserts, water is extremely scarce. We were on the ground an hour when we walked out to see the water point where people get water in Turbi.
It was completely empty. Completely.
There are two problems when it comes to water—access to water (a.k.a. how far is the walk to a water source) and the quality of water. Many times these two problems go hand in hand. For this town, the water source, this water reservoir, was close, but the water would have been contaminated. However today, they had both problems. They would have to walk hours to a water source where thousands of livestock collected water. I think you can probably put two and two together and realize that water would also be contaminated.
It’s a sobering feeling to stand in the middle of a village and realize… THESE PEOPLE DON’T HAVE WATER. That mom, that dad, that child, every face I could see, did not have access to water.
Throughout the trip, I realized how easy it would be to see the problem as too big. I could certainly have a panic attack if I let myself mentally walk in their shoes for very long. But, instead of walking away defeated, I came back with hope. I've seen the faith our local partners possess. They do not believe that the water crisis is too big. The goal is not easy, it will not happen tomorrow, and it won't happen alone. But they have faith that God has not given up on them. He has not given up on Turbi, Kenya, nor any of the other places we visited.
Our local partners’ faith has grown mine. I'm so thankful that I get to play a small part in continuing to fight for our friends here. They are worth it.