Leonisa Phiri is the headwoman of the Kuchumbo village with a population of about 230 in the Diocese of Chipata, in the Eastern Province of Zambia. Leonisa can’t stop praising God for the dramatic change in her community since a clean water well was installed by Cross Catholic Outreach.
“I thank my God; it is like I am dreaming to see my people, especially my fellow women, getting water right in the village!” said Leonisa. “Look at how happy the children are! Oh God, you have changed our lives.”
The need for clean water is extremely high in the poor, rural Diocese of Chipata. Before the well was drilled, finding clean water was a daunting challenge. Women and girls, who traditionally collect water in Zambia, had to walk long distances just to find a small stream. During the dry season, they had to walk even farther. This meant that many of the girls had to skip school just so their families could have water each day.
Traditional water sources were not just far but also dangerous. Because the riverbeds and hand-dug water pits were also used by the villagers’ cattle and dogs, as well as wild animals, they were often infested with frogs and insect larva. Drinking the water can cause diarrhea and dysentery, resulting in fatalities of children and the elderly.
Installation of the clean water well improves access to sustainable safe drinking water and reduces sanitation-related diseases among the poor villages in Eastern Zambia. When Leonisa’s village received their well, the entire community danced and rejoiced.
Cross Catholic Outreach is dedicated to meeting the material and spiritual needs of the poorest of the poor. Our ministry strengthens the presence of the Church in poor dioceses of the developing world to provide physical aid and share the richness of the Catholic faith.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
In Zambia, the community water well project is having a profound spiritual impact on the community. Working through Cross Catholic Outreach, you are addressing critical physical and spiritual needs of children and families who have no one else to help them. People in the village see not only the Diocese bringing water to them, but also the love of God. And as Catholics, we are helping to lead our brothers and sisters to the living water that never runs dry.