The community of Nyakapela B, Zambia, was home to 25 families. Although it was a small community, they did have a local health clinic to provide for the residents’ medical needs and a local church to address the spiritual needs of the community. One essential item that the community was lacking was safe water. The existing well in Nyakapela B had fallen into disrepair, and residents had resorted to using a local stream for their water needs. Particularly in the humid, subtropical climate of Zambia, water was a requirement, and the community needed a lot of water to stay hydrated, as well as to provide for their other needs: cooking, bathing, washing, and cleaning. Unfortunately, the stream they relied on did not provide sufficient water for the families of Nyakapela B, and the water it did provide was contaminated. Cholera, dysentery, malaria, and respiratory infections were frequent, unwanted guests; and the residents were all too familiar with the debilitating side effects of these water-related illnesses. They were forced to stay home, struggling to combat the sicknesses; and without a safe water source to treat the illness or to help them rehydrate, it seemed they would never be able to truly thrive.
The community members knew that they did not have the knowledge, tools, or funds needed to repair their existing well or to drill a new one. However, the optimistic and persistent residents refused to give up. They learned of the work Living Water International was doing in other communities like theirs—rehabilitating wells and providing safe water. They wrote a letter, pleading for assistance and a solution to their water crisis. The community was overwhelmed and overjoyed to learn that, not only would the Living Water field team come to Nyakapela B to repair their well but also the costs for the project had been generously covered by Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood. The residents began to hope for a brighter future and for a day when safe water would again flow freely in their community.
The Living Water field team arrived in Nyakapela B with the necessary tools and equipment to rehabilitate their existing well. The residents greeted the team warmly and offered their assistance, providing additional labor for the project and any locally available materials that the team might need. The field team immediately set to work repairing the well from the bottom up. They replaced or repaired the broken pieces: the chain, cylinder, rising main-drop pipe, pump reservoir, pump rod-sucker rods, pump handle, and pump head. After the work was completed, the residents were filled with joy as they watched safe water gushing from the hand pump. It finally looked like the days of sickness and thirst were behind the residents of Nyakapela B.
Whenever a community has been without a safe water source, it is imperative to provide, not just safe water but also the knowledge and skills of how to use the safe water and keep the pump working smoothly. The Living Water field team conducted hygiene and sanitation training to provide the residents with this information in practical, hands-on sessions. The community members learned about germs, disease transmission, proper handwashing techniques, latrine perception, and proper use of the pump. The team also incorporated the spiritual message of Jesus cleansing us from sin just as safe water can clean our hands from germs and diseases. The residents appreciated the lessons, and the team will follow up to ensure necessary, practical steps are being taken to incorporate these new practices into the hygiene and sanitation climate of the community.
The most important thing the field team could communicate to the residents of Nyakapela B was the message of the gospel. The Living Water team worked with Power of God Church and Pastor Daniel Mwanza to ensure the residents had the opportunity to hear God’s Word and learn about God’s plan for their lives. The team desired for the residents to have access to safe water but also for the community to learn of the living water that Jesus provides, which can quench spiritual thirst and provide eternal life. At the well dedication ceremony, the team shared the story of “The Blind Beggar” from Luke 18 and encouraged the residents to have faith like the blind man who called out to Jesus and received his sight.
Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, thank you for desiring to impact the thirsty of Zambia by providing them with a safe water source and ensuring that God’s Word and love was shared as well. Through your love and generosity, the 25 families of Nyakapela B have safe water flowing in their community and their lives have been changed, both temporally and eternally. Thank you, Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood, for providing water, for life, in Jesus’ name!