The Queen’s Camels

30 Aug

child drinking pure water from well in Ethiopia
A southern Ethiopia luxury: pure, safe water

Bittersweet Water

David’s Third Photo Blog from Ethiopia

Dear Friends,

This afternoon I had the bittersweet blessing of dedicating a new water well funded by Heaven’s Family’s Safe Water Ministry. It was sweet because the beneficiaries, tribespeople from miles around, have been drinking unsafe, muddy water all their lives. Now, for the first time, they will have pure, safe water to drink. They will no longer be plagued by waterborne diseases.

It was bitter because people created in God’s image will still be walking miles every day to this new well, and they will be carrying heavy, water-filled plastic jerry cans back to their villages for the rest of their lives. This is as good as it gets. Our new well will serve 20 small villages, and in some cases, those villages are a two hour’s walk away.

Still, the well committee, respected representatives from several of the local villages, thanked us almost to the point of embarrassment. It’s a new day for them and their animals. And they humbly requested more wells for their region.

They are not people who are lazy beggars. Very close by, I inspected four immense holes that had been dug by hand. Those holes must have been 12 feet wide and long, and 25 feet deep, at least, and all but one was completely dry. The one that was not dry had a little muddy water on the bottom. Our well is 150 feet deep, and the water has been tested. It is very pure. You can drink it without fear.

This well cost us $15,000. Some wells cost much less to drill and install, and some cost more, depending on the location and the geology.

Our Safe Water Ministry exists for two purposes: (1) to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as those who are not yet in our spiritual family, with safe water, as a testimony of God’s love for them, and (2), to serve those within our family whom God has blessed with resources, by giving them an opportunity to show their love for the One who will one day say to everyone either, “I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink,” or “I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink.” More than once on this trip I’ve been asked by Jesus’ followers for wells. Our Safe Water Ministry, directed by our dear Diane Scott, has never had too much money.

I was very impressed that the well committee requires everyone who uses the well to pay a little money, which the committee is saving for eventual ultimate pump repairs. Only the Lord knows the number of broken wells around the developing world that remain nonfunctional, as villagers wait for the NGOs that installed them to repair them. Thankfully, the committee for our well has taken ownership.

Below are some photos from the day.

David Servant
Founder and President, Heaven’s Family

women pumping safe water from well provided by Heaven's Family
We’ve learned to always have a permanent sign installed at every well we fund in order to prevent the scam of multiple organizations—that don’t know about each other’s involvement—funding the same well. Another sign, that says the same thing in the local language, is outside the frame of this photo.

pure water from well being poured into plastic jerry
Water pouring from the pump into a standard plastic jerry can through a funnel made of a cut-off plastic bottle. A full 5-gallon jerry can weighs about 42 pounds.

Ethiopians dressed in colorful garb
Three of the colorful beneficiaries of pure, safe water

Ethiopian man
A less-colorful beneficiary

young woman in Ethiopia with calves
A beautiful beneficiary who came to water her five calves

David Servant with five camels in Ethiopia
While we were at the new well, five camels waked up out of nowhere and drank their fill, and then walked off into the distance. I wondered, could they be descended from camels that likely traveled to Jerusalem with the Ethiopian Eunuch (of Acts 8) whom Philip the Evangelist led to Christ? Might they even have been descended from camels that belonged to the Queen of Sheba that carried spices, gold and precious stones to Jerusalem when she visited King Solomon? Stay posted for the DNA test results…


1 Recent Comments

  • Carol Phelps

    I realize that fetching water is a daily time-consuming, tiring, and obnoxious chore in 3rd world countries. I’ve seen people doing it from India to Kenya. Interestingly enough, I once read a story about a well Americans helped to put in, I think in Afghanistan, which got repeatedly sabotaged. To everyone’s astonishment, it eventually came out that the women who were supposed to be the beneficiaries of the well were the ones who were secretly making it non-functional, because the hours when they made the long walk to fetch water was the only time they got out of their homes all day, to breathe the fresh air, get some exercise, and best of all, chat and socialize with the other women in the area! If fresh water were only 2 minutes away, they lost that. So some of the things we gripe about in life do have silver linings that we don’t appreciate unless we lose them.

    That said, maybe someone in each village gets or makes themselves a donkey cart or camel cart, and loads it up with everyone’s empty water jugs that are left outside their doors (or at a central place) in the early morning, and for a very small fee makes the trip for water, and delivers it back to the door (or a central location in their village) like the Culligan men of old used to do in the U.S. Or families could share one draft animal and cart and trade off going for water. It would take a while… even with 2 teens working together, just hand-pumping and filling a dozen jugs from one tap takes some time… but if you just had to make the trip once a week, that would free up a lot of time for gardening or handicrafts or studying or playing soccer on the other days.

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