“THE WATER WAS TROUBLE. IT WAS DARK.”
Liliana and her older sister gathered water several times a day from a reservoir that Liliana says was “left by the ancestors” — a manmade pond just outside of town. In the rainy season, the water was plentiful. In the dry season, they would scrape new holes in the ground and wait for them to fill with groundwater. Sometimes it worked, often it didn’t.
But the rain brought with it more than water. As it swept through the village towards the reservoir, waste and trash got washed along, too. “We could see the dirty things in the water when it rained,” Liliana said. She knew it was bad. “The water was trouble. It was dark.”
Liliana’s brothers and sisters got sick from the water, and so did she. Concern Worldwide got involved.
Concern Worldwide’s mission is to help people living in extreme poverty achieve major improvements in their lives that last and spread without ongoing support from Concern.
Concern Worldwide U.S. was established in 1993 in recognition of the Irish community in America, whose relatives and friends contributed so much early in Concern’s history. Today, they are a renowned international organization that sends more than 90 cents of every dollar directly to some of the world’s poorest countries. But the staff at Concern cannot continue to combat disaster and famine alone. Just like in 1968, there is a famine in Africa today and disaster around the world. Concern has teams on the ground in locations from Syria to Haiti and everywhere in between. What they need is us.
“WHEN WE DRANK THAT WATER, WE GOT STOMACH PAIN. BUT I DRANK IT BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OTHER CHOICE.”
Liliana remembers when Concern first arrived in Mulombwa. They presented to people in the village and told them that they would build a water pump, but in the meantime the community was told they should boil their drinking water to make it safe. They spoke about lots of other things, too, like the importance of handwashing and keeping household plots tidy, and they helped families to construct latrines. They also asked the community to gather materials to help construct an enclosure for the pump. Everyone got involved. The pump was finally constructed last year and Liliana couldn’t be happier.
Liliana says that if the pump ever broke down and she had to go back to the old water source, now she knows to boil water first. But she’s not worried about that anyway. The pump is looked after by a water management committee elected by the village, and the community is fundraising to pay for ongoing maintenance.
From its 1968 origins of friends helping friends, Concern continues its mission to help those in need, to treat all struggling citizens, whatever their race, age, or background, like friends. What started with the Irish has now expanded to the world. We need to do our part and support the beautiful mission of helping others in devastating circumstances.
There is nothing more essential to a healthy life than clean water. This statement couldn’t be truer for Liliana and her entire community. Thank you so much for your support in bringing clean water to Mulombwa and other communities around the world.