But just last Wednesday, Claris's community received the miracle of clean water for the first time — and Claris began to shine! See her now…
In August, I spent the day at one of the most hideous water sources I’d ever seen. This water was dirty.
A dog had recently drowned there while drinking water from the hole. No one knew it had happened until dog fur floated to the surface of the water. That’s when villagers poked around the bottom of the hole with a long stick and found the remains of the dog, caught under a tree root.
They were sickened.
I watched as a group of teens, thirsty from soccer, came to the water hole to drink. They had one clear plastic bottle that they shared. They would crawl into the hole, immerse the bottle into the dirty water, drink heartily, and pass the bottle onto the next. It was hard to watch. But we had no clean water to give them.
“We pray special prayers for water,” Bazaar Buumba, 57, told me. “They are pleas: God help us work with people like World Vision. Touch them and help them bring water to us.”
I felt so sorry for this community.
Most of the people were related — brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren. They were so kind. One grandmother was so old that she just sat by her hut all day. Another was HIV positive. Her grandchildren took such good care of her.
There was a lot of love, for each other and for Jesus.
But the water was a big problem.
Children couldn’t go to school because of sickness. Mothers did nothing but fetch water. Fathers couldn’t farm enough to feed their families or have extra income.
I watched little Claris, 6, fill a water jug impossibly big for a little girl to carry. I asked her mother if she could even lift it.
“Yes,” she said. “She has to carry water, she’s a girl.”
Claris’ mother was tired. Her feet were swollen and dry. “Plastic sandals make my legs swell so barefoot is better,” she said.
I told her I was sorry for her pain.
“The water, to me, is pain,” she said. “I have to endure a lot — to know that dogs die and animals defecate here. Pigs defecate here. But I have to drink it. When I drink this water, the diarrhea never ends. All my children have diarrhea.”
Including Claris. I couldn’t get her out of my mind.
Last week, I saw Claris again.
We were at the opening of a borehole in her village. The community gathered at Bazaar Buumba’s house to walk together to the borehole. Some held hands. Their excitement was palpable.
At the new borehole, there were prayers and speeches of gratitude. The villagers were thankful for World Vision — but gave glory to God who had answered their pleas for clean water.
Then children pumped the handle — one, two, three times — and water began to flow. Their parents dancing and filling the air with song, the children rushed to catch the water streaming, clean and cold, from the spigot.
Claris was among them. She held out her little hands, cupped just so to catch her first ever taste of clean water.
She drank. She smiled. She began to shine.
Watching those first sips, I witnessed a community’s answer to prayer.
I understood how God worked miracles through World Vision staff.
I saw a little girl taste and see.
No one at that borehole would ever be the same.
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