Sierra Leone (MNN) — Since the civil war ended in Sierra Leone almost 10 years ago, the biggest need has been clean water, according to World Hope International.
"When we can help them with clean water, we've given them a real shot at having a good, healthy life," explains WHI CEO Karl Eastlack.
The two main issues with the water situation in Sierra Leone are distance and sanitation. Water sources are, on average, about a mile and a half walk from most villages in the country. Sometimes, the long walks do not even pay off.
"[I saw a girl] who had picked up her water and come back to the village where we were standing–had it on her head. She looked like about a 10-year-old girl," remembers Eastlack from a trip to Sierra Leone. "As she was walking she got maybe 50 feet from her hut where she lived, and tripped and fell. The whole thing on her head fell onto the ground–and all of that effort of having to walk a mile and a half one way and back again."
The unfortunate truth is: even if the devastated child had not spilled her jug, the water would likely have still been contaminated. There are few wells around to provide clean drinking water, and disease often ruminates in the sources used by many people for various functions.
Most of the diseases are easily preventable, too. Eastlack says, "If you gave a child in Sierra Leone clean water and a mosquito net, you'll have taken care of about 65 percent of all diseases that kill children in Sierra Leone according to the United Nations."
WHI has been aware of this need for quite some time and has been drilling wells in Sierra Leone since the end of the country's civil war. Months back, the ministry was blessed to meet another organization who shared their passion in a big way.
The Fishers Rotary Club of Fishers, Indiana desired to help WHI drill wells. But they weren't just willing to drill one. They wanted to fund 100!
Eventually, the Fishers club was able to get the endorsement of Rotary International, which decided that this worthwhile project was worthy enough to qualify for the organization's first $300,000 grant to Africa.
The grant has allowed WHI to embark on a mission to drill 100 wells. 17 are already finished, and all 100 should be completed by sometime in 2012.
The most exciting part? WHI has the opportunity to share the Gospel with every well they drill. It's a little tricky since Rotary International is not a Christian organization and will not, therefore, allow WHI to present the Gospel during well presentations. But WHI has still found a way to shine the Truth through.
"What we will do is invite people back maybe an hour later, and then have our own time where we will share the one who gives living water, Jesus Christ," says Eastlack. Pray that the body of Christ will grow as a result of these times.
Rotary International is not quite footing the bill for the entire project, so financial help will be beneficial. If you want to be a part of this project, there are two ways to get involved. First, a benefit concert with five-time Grammy Award Winning Artist Sandi Patty will take place on March 19 in Fishers, Indiana to support the 100-wells project. Learn more about attending here. Secondly, you can help WHI build wells across Sierra Leone by donating directly at their Web site, worldhope.org.