Some of us find it easy to simply turn on the tap in our kitchen or bathroom to find water that we can drink safely. According to various sources, the percentage of Kenyans who do not have ready access to clean water is between 40–43%. This represents fifteen to seventeen million Kenyans. It is far worse in some other African nations. Often, Kenya’s pastoralist people groups—Maasai, Turkana, Pokot, Samburu, etc.—have much lower percentages of people with access to clean water.
Recently, Friends in the Narok region in southern Kenya (the center of Maasai-land) undertook a biosand water filtration project among Friends. This training and filter construction was meant to benefit both the local members of Friends churches and to additionally serve as an outreach opportunity into the broader Maasai community.
Vincent Sinteria Lekishon, a Maasai Quaker, traveled from his current home in Kisumu to provide water instruction, oversight, and encouragement to those in his home region. Vincent had worked with Del and Suzanne Livingston (Water for Africa) on prior water projects and is a skilled leader. Some of the funds for this project came from individual donations to FUM for biosand water projects among East African Friends.
Through his trainings, Vincent taught about the importance of clean drinking water and the illnesses associated with contaminated water. Waterborne diseases, like dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, and others, often slow the growth of children, hamper maternal health, and lower life expectancy. The training also included direction on how to construct, use, and maintain biosand water filters. Another aspect of the training was a consideration of how churches might use the clean water project to reach others among their people with the Good News. Providing safe water and other kindnesses are ways that Friends live out Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbors. These acts of love not only serve others, they often open doors to sharing about the source of this love. New believers might be cultivated through this “watering” effort.
Vincent’s trainings were a great encouragement to the churches in this area. They learned not only how to provide clean water for themselves, but the filters might also provide some small income to help with other church projects. There will be a follow-up session in April to see how these Friends churches are doing with sharing clean drinking water and the Living Water.
Please continue to pray for this project that offers new life to Maasai-land.