Sometime during the second week of July, these beautiful Nicaraguan children will get something they’ve never had before. I’m not talking about a trip to Disney World or the Mall of America. They won’t get their first iPad or laptop either. Born in the second poorest country in the western hemisphere (Haiti is the poorest), these kids will get safe drinking water in their homes. Up to this point in their young lives they haven’t had access to clean water. The water they drink is local well water — handy, but not free of bacteria and contaminants; water we might use to wash our cars but wouldn’t dream of drinking.
Six of us, representing Edgewood United Church (UCC) in East Lansing and First Congregational (UCC) in Grand Ledge, MI, installed ninety, simple and effective filtration systems in four Nicaraguan villages. (You can read more about these filters in my June 22 blog). It takes three weeks before these portable home systems are fully functional. That’s when these kids, and about 500 other users, will have at their disposal water that comes into the system contaminated but comes out of the spout clean and drinkable.
Of the six of us, only two spoke fluent Spanish. With their help and that of several translators who accompanied us into the Nicaraguan countryside, we managed pretty well. I won’t quickly forget the heat of that June week. I probably won’t forget the pigs roaming at my feet as I brushed my teeth. I won’t soon forget the taste of the rice and beans we ate seven days in a row. Eventually, though, those memories will fade, but the faces of the children — their eyes and smiles — won’t. Makes me wonder . . . Who blessed whom?
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