The H2O Project changes lives at home and abroad
Since 2009, First Presbyterian Church has given 129 shallow wells to villages throughout Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania through Marion Medical Mission. These wells have been providing clean, safe drinking water to thousands of villagers, but there are still countless more who have no access to clean drinking water ever day.
Women and children bear the primary responsibility for getting water in most households. It can take several hours each day just going to and from the nearest water supply that is not even safe to drink. They have no option but to drink from lakes and streams polluted with animal and human waste and parasites. Not only is this water unsafe to drink, but this time-consuming chore takes away from hours that could be used for an income-generating job, caring for family, or attending school.
While water troubles may be hard to imagine for those of us blessed to live in the United States, each year, members of First Presbyterian Church get to help raise awareness of this serious issue and try to help!
For the two weeks of April 6-19, the church invites all members of the congregation to participate in the H2O Project. For the two weeks before Easter, everyone is encouraged to give up all special beverages besides water. Participants keep track of the beverages they decline, and instead of for their coffee, sodas, milk etc., they donate that money to the H20 Project. Everyone is given a wristband to help remind them of their fast, and a business card drink tracker to help them keep track of their progress. Don’t worry about tracking the exact dollar amount for each beverage; most people just apply a $1 average per drink.
It can challenging to give up special beverages for two weeks, but many people who have participated come away with a deeper appreciation for the blessings of the safe and easy access to water. It is so easy to take it for granted! Some participants also make it a spiritual practice to pray for those who need safe water every time they give up a beverage.
“I spent the first week telling everyone how miserable I was. The second week was easier. I missed coffee a little less,” explained First Church member Kelly Brown, “I started to think about water and what I would do if I didn’t have it. Now, THAT would be sacrifice! And that, of course, was the point… The money we gave after two weeks was enough to provide five people with clean water to last them a lifetime. A lifetime!”
For those who aren’t quite ready to make the leap to giving up special beverages entirely, the H2O Project can still be an enlightening experience. Some participants choose to still drink coffee, sodas, etc., but they keep track of each beverage, and donate accordingly at the end of the week. One “self-admitted caffeine addict” shared that “this option still helps me to be mindful of my availability to clean water and make a difference for those who are not as fortunate.”
All donations will be used to dig shallow wells in Malawi, Zambia or Tanzania by the Marion Medical Mission. For just $400.00, we can provide an African village of approximately 150 people with a sustainable source of safe drinking water. This is a self-help program.
- Marion Medical Mission partner with the African communities at the grassroots level.
- People from the village dig the well, make the brick and provide sand and stone.
- Marion Medical Mission supplies only what the villages cannot.
- The shallow well is inexpensive, technologically appropriate and can be built in the most remote areas.
- It is easy to repair and even the extreme poor can afford to maintain it.
- Everything is purchased, manufactured, maintained and administered in Africa by Africans.
“I’m going to do it again,” shared Brown, “I would encourage everyone to participate in this project. I would suggest you actually give up what you are normally purchasing – not because misery loves company – but because even a small sacrifice can be illuminating to how we are blessed and how we can be a blessing others.”