Elixir of Life and Death
In Africa, we have a saying: “Americans have watches, and Africans have time.” Except now, there is little time left for my own dear Joseph.
Was it just days ago that my laughing, mischievous son followed along behind his older brothers? Walking the mile to the river for water is a daily chore they can all help with, but Joseph is still young. In truth, he was more of a bother than a help. Charles and Andrew sometimes complained, but how I would rejoice to hear such complaints again. Instead, I hear only Joseph’s cries. Surely you hear them, too. He moans with fever that my remedies cannot quench. The pain in his stomach and head are severe, but he has no energy to resist. This, his lethargy, is what pierces my heart. He looks at me, and in his eyes I see his distress, his questions, his silent pleas for relief.
My village is familiar with the anguish I feel, for we are afflicted with many diseases. Diarrhea and Cholera visit and torment us often, and when they depart, many of our children have also departed. Trachoma claimed the vision of my only surviving daughter two years ago. Now she sits in front of the hut, her childhood forever gone, and her future a mere memory. The scourge that has condemned my Joseph is Typhoid. I am told all of these curses come from our water. Our water? Our source of life, producing death? How can a man protect his family? If my children do not drink water, they will die.
If they do drink water, they will still die.
I am also told that a water well would change everything. How the source of our water can determine its goodness, I do not understand. One sits on top of the ground, and the other sits within the ground. How can it matter? But when your children are dying, you take hope wherever you can find it. If a well is the answer, then I say we must have a well.
Alone, my people do not have the resources, knowledge, or equipment to do this, but because people, churches, or businesses in America chose to sponsor a well we now have hope. The process Water4 will use is called hand drilling technology. They have told us that with teamwork, combined with their equipment and direction, we will have access to clean drinking water within just a few days. Can you imagine that? Such a short time to change the destiny of so many.
There is no hope for Joseph, but I have other children. Water4’s team will come soon, and when that day comes, I will be the first one on that site. I will be there to help for Joseph’s brothers’ sake. All I have to offer is time, but I will gladly exchange it all for hope and a future for my children.