With no water, villagers toy with death

By August 10, 2011

Cameroon (MNN) — The village in the Ndop Plains of northeastern Cameroon lay in ruins. 300 homes were demolished, three wells destroyed and six people dead.

What had driven the neighboring village to lead such an attack? The answer is simple: desperation for land, food and water.

A team with Wycliffe Associates witnessed this attack firsthand and saw what thirst and hunger can drive whole villages to do. The Wycliffe team was one of two teams sent by Wycliffe Associates in Operation Clean Water to install BioSand water filters in Cameroonian villages. They ended up doing so much more.

After the attack, Mike Tooland and his Wycliffe Associates team repaired the damage to the homes and wells and even arranged for three new hand-dug wells to be constructed. After the wells are finished, the team can continue in their mission to bring BioSand filters to the village and provide clean drinking water.

The need for clean water is immense. A study done by the CIA shows that nearly 30% of Cameroon's population has no clean drinking water available to them. Often, villagers must choose between suffering from thirst or drinking dirty water and risking disease.

Either way, they are toying with death.

Operation Clean Water is a campaign by Wycliffe Associates to reverse this deadly trend. The BioSand water filters they install use a slow sand-filtration process to take out infectious particles such as pathogens, manganese, fluoride, and even iron and arsenic.

In studying the results of the BioSand water filters, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill reported that the filters reduce diarrheal diseases by as much as 40%.

On top of sending out teams to install the BioSand filters in the Ndop Plains, Wycliffe Associates also had a team install the filters in Moloko and train villagers there with sanitation educational programs.

"As we work to install equipment that will improve health, we want to make sure that villagers see the value of having clean water and how it impacts everything they do," says Bart Maley, Operation Clean Water program manager.

Wycliffe Associates hopes the impact from installing these BioSand water filters in Cameroon will advance many areas of their ministry. Not only have lives already been saved through Operation Clean Water, but Wycliffe hopes it will provide unique opportunities for the Gospel.

Wycliffe Associates primary work focuses on Bible translation. In sending out teams to meet the needs for clean water, they hope it will allow their Bible translators into areas where blatant Gospel messages are normally rejected.

Please pray that volunteers may continue to provide clean drinking water to Cameroonian villagers while telling of the Living Water they can find in Christ. Pray that lives would be saved both physically and spiritually for God's kingdom.

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