While traveling with World Vision in Kenya last summer, bestselling author Debbie Macomber met Veronica, a mother of 7, who served her a simple cup of tea.
Behind that cup of tea was a long and difficult journey because getting something as simple as the water for the tea was challenging.
See the difference that clean water makes through Debbie's eyes.
I had a delicious cup of tea last summer, the memory of which I will hold for the remainder of my days. It wasn't an ordinary tea bought in a store. This was a special tea called Kenya Tea. I went to great lengths for that simple cup of tea, lengths that included a trip halfway around the world. Last summer, my husband, daughter, two of my granddaughters, and I were privileged to travel to Kenya with a team from World Vision, to see for ourselves the amazing work done at Marich Pass outside of Kitale.
In order to enjoy this cup of hot tea, we were required to leave our car parked along the side of the road and walk down a steep riverbank. Then we forged a dry riverbed before continuing up the side of another steep bank. From there, we walked a rock and boulder-strewn road for about half a mile. It might have been even farther since it was hard to gauge distance. Our progress on foot over the rocky terrain was slow.
When we reached our destination, we were served this wonderful Kenya Tea, brewed with milk and sugar. It was served in ceramic cups—one borrowed from a neighbor—by a young mother named Veronica.
I learned later that in order for Veronica to brew me that simple cup of tea she had to walk down that very path I had so recently traversed to the dry riverbed. Once there, she had to dig in the dry earth until she was able to get enough water to fill the cups for her guests and then carry it all the way back to her home.
Since that experience, my awareness of water issues has been heightened. My Kenya trip developed from my work as the International Spokesperson for World Vision’s Knit For Kids program and my interest in supporting local and global education efforts. Of course, water is integral in our daily lives: to stay hydrated, to cook, to clean, to bathe. Further yet, clean water and sanitation are also directly linked to education.
The statistics and potentials are staggering. In low-income countries, girls are kept at home to fetch water. They can encounter sexual harassment and assault while gathering their water from streams, ponds, and rivers. Entire families face the potential of waterborne diseases. Access to clean water not only impacts health and safety; it eliminates the need for girls to be kept at home to gather water, which in turn allows them to attend school.
World Vision brought water and more to Veronica and her village, blessing multiple lives. Veronica is the mother of seven children. She proudly introduced me to the six children living with her (her seventh was away at school). Without the help of a microloan from World Vision, Veronica and her children would have starved to death.
Although the flow of water had not yet reached Veronica’s house, the impact of World Vision’s work in Veronica’s life and in the lives of her family and neighbors was clear and clearly continuing.
Try to imagine one day of your life without running water or the capacity to get water except from digging it out of a dry riverbed. Meeting Veronica and enjoying that precious cup of tea that took so much time and effort for her to prepare will long stay in my heart and in my mind. I know that never again will I turn on a faucet and watch the immediate flow of water without thinking of the tremendous importance of clean water, its transformative effect, and the beautiful, hospitable woman who offered me a not-so-simple cup of tea.
Learn more about the positive effect that clean water has on communities and how you can help through World Vision's Water Effect!