Empowering people to be healthy

October 3, 2013

by Ying Mao, Samaritan's Purse Intern

"You see, the people here have been suffering without clean water for generations. Sometimes they have other concerns that distract them from the importance of safe drinking water..."

By Ying Mao, Samaritan’s Purse Intern

It has been a few months since I arrived in Kenya. I have been living with a host family in the village of Siongiroi, and am helping our Samaritan’s Purse partners construct BioSand Water Filters (BSFs) for families in need so that they can have clean, safe water for years to come.

There are various challenges we experience on the field, but perhaps the biggest obstacle is helping people understand the importance of hygiene and safe water.

You see, the people here have been suffering without clean water for generations. Sometimes they have other concerns that distract them from the importance of safe drinking water—such as maintaining their livestock and farms so they have a source of food and income.

My prayer is that, as we continue on with the BSF program, people will be empowered to take responsibility for their health, and that they will also learn about the love of Christ.

I also hope to continue to learn amazing things about life from the community here.

I am learning to see that the people I interact with are not just individuals from a different culture and country than me—they are my friends, my colleagues, and my brothers and sisters in Christ. One day we will be with Christ together in Heaven and it will not make much difference what country we are from.

The identity of the people around me is not defined by the poverty, inefficiency, dangerous roads, malaria, or any of the great need in Africa. In fact, the words, “poor” and “poverty” rarely cross my mind here. The standard of living is different, but the people of Kenya are not defined by their economic or social situations.

Rather, their identity is found in the joyful laugh of my host brother Kiprono as he learns to walk; in the cool breeze and the crunch of the dry grass as I walk to neighborhood households; in the many tones of the Kipsigis language; in the grips of the hands that I shake as I greet community members. 

Thank you to everyone who is praying for me. I look forward to continuing to share with you all during this internship experience.

Mungu akubariki (God bless you),

Ying

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