We built a well!

by Rachel Held Evans Read Distraction Free

As you may remember, back in 2011, we held our Rally to Restore Unity—a little online celebration of Christian civility, complete with posters, photos, a synchroblog, guest posts, and a fundraiser for Charity Water. 


You made some pretty awesome signs: 


Between the rally and my birthday, we raised $5,000, enough money to help fund a major water project for Charity:Water. And this week, I received notification from Charity:Water that our project has finally been completed! 

It’s a drilled well, located in Machelot village in northern Ethiopia. (You can actually check out the GPS coordinates here.)

The well serves about 500 people who have been trained by Charity:Water’s local partners in safe hygiene practices and basic maintenance of the well. Each family using the new water source contributed toward their project's construction and will continue to pay a small amount to use the water; the community will save this money for any necessary maintenance and repairs. 


According to our contact at Charity:Water, “The people here, especially women and children, used to walk up to two hours to collect water for their families. Even then, each family member had to make do with about five liters of water per day for drinking, bathing, cooking and everything else. The water wasn't safe to drink and often made people sick. Thanks to your help, people here are walking significantly less every day to collect water. This means each family now can use up to 15 liters per person per day! Most importantly, the water they bring home each day is safe enough to drink.”


Members of the community decided to build the fence and door to prevent animals from contaminating the area. 

Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely contaminated.  Time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families. Along their long walk, they're subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives.

You can learn more about the community at Machelot here, and more about how Charity: Water turns a fundraising campaign into a completed water project here. 

I cannot thank you enough for your donations, which ranged from $5 to $500.  It’s such an honor to be part of this community, which has connected with another community, many miles away. 

As we think of the women and children in these pictures, and all the ways in which this water will nourish and cool and cook and clean in their community, two prayers from Jan Richardson (In the Sanctuary of Women) come to mind. I hope you will pray them with me sometime today:  

When you come
to the depth of your thirst—
Its dryness, its dust; 
when you arrive at the far reaches 
of a desert within,
may the God of the wilderness 
bring forth a well; 
may you open wide to the drenching 
of the water of life.


From every hardship, let there come honey.
From every struggle, sweet. 
Let angels. Let manna. 
Let wellsprings. Let rest. 
To the hungry, let food.
To the thirsty, let drink. 
Clothes to the naked, care to the sick.
To the stranger, let welcome. 
To the prisoner, let company. 
Let honey. Let honey. Let honey. 

Learn more about Charity:Water

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