An oasis against an arid backdrop

August 22, 2013

by Ron Orcajada, Household Water Program Manager

Simple BioSand Water Filters bring life-saving water to a remote community in Ethiopia.

By Ron Orcajada, Household Water Program Manager

As we wind through the dust and wind-swept plateaus of a remote region of Ethiopia, we come across Lahama. This village, nestled in a canyon that was formed by a rare spring, is an oasis against an arid backdrop.

Many years ago, a sojourner happened upon this canyon. He chose to settle down, and generations later, a village has formed. More than 300 homes, most inhabited by descendants of Lahama’s founder, exist in this isolated, seemingly unlivable area in the Horn of Africa.

The families who live here fetch water from the spring, which is their only water source. One shy little girl that I meet lets me take her photo as she walks to collect water for her family—one of at least three daily trips taken so that the family has something to drink.

Lahama is an oasis. But an oasis with bacteria-ridden water does little to help its inhabitants thrive. That’s why, as I overlook the village, I’m thankful for the work of Samaritan’s Purse, which has made BioSand Water Filters a household essential in hundreds of homes here.

These filters, a Canadian invention provided by Samaritan’s Purse, are saving lives.

People in Lahama’s community simply pour contaminated spring water into their filter. As the water trickles through the biolayer, sand, and gravel of the filter, disease-causing bacteria are removed. It’s like a miracle when the dirty, unsafe water that was poured in comes out of the filter’s faucet clean, clear, and disease-free.

As I look out over Lahama, I’m thankful—for generous people like you who are giving the gift of water for years to come; for our partners in Ethiopia who work with those in need in Lahama; and for God, who sees the desperation of the poor and thirsty, and is providing for their needs.

In 2012 and so far in 2013, Canadians have partnered with us to install 40,000 BioSand Water Filters in the homes of people in need.

We pray that these filters will help them live healthy lives. And even more so, we pray that through our gift, they will come to know Jesus Christ, who said, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6, NIV).