Joy in Jambo

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On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
– John 7:37

From Taso’s front door you can see a lot of Ethiopia. Her home is perched on a hilltop overlooking a pastiche of small farms and paths crisscrossed by narrow trenches deepened with each rainy season. Her family grows maize, sugarcane, and teff, and they keep a few animals. Taso’s story mirrors what is happening around and through many mothers in her area.

Until last year, the only source of water near Jambo, an unprotected spring, was shared with wild animals, including wild boar and baboons, making it too dangerous for children to collect water. The spring area was mucky and putrid with animal waste. The leeches infesting the water Taso collected would attach to the inside of their throats, and the removal process was painful and scary – especially for children.

Taso’s community, Jambo, worked together with help from Lifewater International, a Christian non-profit working to end the global water and sanitation crisis, to build a protected spring cap last year. Misrak, the project manager, says they decided to build a livestock trough and clothes washing station nearby so that the spring cap would stay protected while everyone uses the water in different ways. Misrak says this showed incredible thoughtfulness and foresight by Taso and others on the water committee.

A fence surrounds the spring cap and is opened daily by a caretaker who monitors use and collects user fees. In Jambo, the community decided that 40 Birr ($2) per family per year was about right. Taso volunteers to be the caretaker one day each week.

Most springs and wells in hilly areas are located at low points where hills converge. This means long walks uphill with up to 40 lbs of water in each jerry can. As Taso collects her water (she usually goes with her friend, Etenish) she greets others on the same quest.

Returning home, Taso ducks through her doorway and exchanges the jerry can full of water on her back for her baby, Dasi. The baby watches as the water pours into a washing tub and her mother takes a long drink from a clean cup. Dasi’s older brother wanders in and is rewarded with the same.*

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”- John 6:35

 

 

 

 

 

* “A Mother’s Story,” furnished by Lifewater International and Shuping’s Travel-zine, Vol. 15. www.shupingtravel.com

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