Children wash their hands at the water kiosk in Orkung’u, Kenya.
Children go to the new water kiosk to wash their hands. This water has helped communities practice good hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Water for Life Brings Clean Water to 10 Kenyan Communities

Too salty. Too bitter. Too muddy.

Sadly, these are the words that many families in southern use to describe their water sources. Communities located near the Indian Ocean find that their canals and shallow wells have extremely high levels of salt. Rural towns notice that their water has a bitter aftertaste from the effects of years of agricultural runoff. And during the dry season, thousands of people have no nearby drinking sources at all; these families must walk miles and dig deep holes into dry riverbeds just to collect muddy groundwater.

In fact, nearly one-third of Kenya’s population does not have a safe source of water (CIA World Factbook). Without a readily available drinking source, communities must rely on distant (and often dirty) sources to meet their daily needs. They risk many dangers, including painful waterborne illnesses, and lose countless hours to the all-consuming search for water.

In early 2021, however, the water woes of 67,177 people suddenly evaporated! Ten communities in the Archdiocese of Mombasa and the Diocese of Machakos finally gained safe, abundant water — a miracle of mercy made possible by one devoted priest, a lot of teamwork, countless prayers and faithful Catholics throughout the U.S.

Related: Learn About Kenya’s Challenge to Access Clean Water and How You Can Help

Fr. Fabian helps a girl in Tawa, Kenya, collect water from the new water kiosk.
Fr. Fabian helps a girl in Tawa, Kenya, collect water from the community’s new water system. No matter how many communities he serves, it is always exciting to complete a new water system for families in need.

Our Strategic Partner: Good Samaritan Water Sanitation Services

To address the dire need for clean water in southern Kenya, Cross Catholic Outreach again collaborated with Father Fabian Hevi, a priest with the Society of African Missionaries and one of our longtime ministry partners. We previously helped Fr. Fabian complete 27 water systems in northern Kenya and six in southern Kenya. So when the needs of 10 additional communities came to our attention, we were ready and eager to work with this devoted priest once more.

Fr. Fabian views water as a universal right that should be accessible to all people. Everyone needs water, so everyone should have water it’s as simple as that. Inspired by the Scriptures, Fr. Fabian is committed to honoring Christ by serving the poor with excellence. Working through his nonprofit, Good Samaritan Water Sanitation Services, he strives to install high-quality solar water systems that will provide abundant, clean water for generations to come.

To accomplish this mission, Good Samaritan Water Sanitation Services follows these methods:

  • Conduct hydrogeological surveys to determine prime locations for drilling.
  • Drill and case boreholes to a depth of at least 200 meters to ensure water purity and abundance.
  • Conduct tests to ensure water quality and quantity meet or exceed government standards.
  • Provide training on water, sanitation, hygiene and agriculture, empowering communities to maintain their new wells, prevent contamination and maximize their water resources.
Abraham Sotei, 3, lifts his arms in thanksgiving for safe, clean water.

Successfully Addressing the Water Crisis for Communities in South Kenya

Between 2020 and 2021, we called upon Catholic individuals, parishes, schools and groups to join us in supporting Fr. Fabian’s mission to provide clean water for 10 communities in southern Kenya. Thanks to their generous giving, all of these communities — five in the Diocese of Machakos and five in the Archdiocese of Mombasa — had functioning water systems by April 2021!

Each water system was constructed with a solar-powered water pump, an elevated 10,000-liter water storage tank and a water kiosk for dispensing. Now, instead of spending hours on water collection, families simply visit their local kiosk and pay a token fee, equivalent to about 19 cents for every 20 liters. Then the kiosk attendant helps them fill their containers with crystal-clear water! Any money collected from water fees is placed into an account for future well maintenance, ensuring that the water system will remain in working order for years to come.

Thanks to this outreach, 18,008 people in the Archdiocese of Mombasa and 49,169 people in the Diocese of Machakos are finally able to quench their thirst quickly and without fear of waterborne diseases!

Pauline collects water from a canal in Mokine, Kenya.
Pauline used to collect water from contaminated canals such as the one shown here.

Pauline Gives Praise for Safe Water

Pauline, a mother of four in Mokine, Kenya, is one of the women who have been delivered from the hardships caused by water scarcity. She and most of the other mothers in her community have fought a daily battle to quench the thirst of their kids. This repetitive, backbreaking chore has often felt like a never-ending trial.

Mothers in Mokine would rise in the dark before dawn, walk nearly two miles to the nearest canal, wait in line for hours for their opportunity to collect water, and then carry their heavy, sloshing buckets of murky water all the way home. Pauline had no way of knowing whether the water she was delivering would make her children ill, but she had no other option for meeting their needs.

Thanks to Fr. Fabian and the generosity of our donors, however, these trials have finally come to an end! Her community received a wonderful new water system, and Pauline is overflowing with gratitude.

“We thank the Lord, and we thank Cross Catholic Outreach [for bringing] water closer to us. Before we got water from Cross Catholic [Outreach], we walked long distances to get water,” Pauline shared. “We ask God to bless [you] very much that now we have clean water, and we thank you very much because of [this] clean water, which will take off most of our problems and sicknesses. God bless you so much.”

Katita Shuaka sits at her home in Orkung’u, Kenya.
Katita’s whole family is happier and healthier now that they have a safe water source near home.

Clean Water and Fresh Hope for Katita’s Family

Katita Shuaka, 30, is another hardworking mother who used to spend 70% of her time on water collection. Now, that task consumes only 5% of her day.

Katita and her husband, David, are raising their five children in the village of Orkung’u, Kenya. As part of the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe, the family relies on their livestock for survival, and David walks 12.5 miles to let the animals graze each day. In the dry season, he has to leave home for weeks at a time, desperately seeking water and grass to keep the cattle alive.

To find water for their homes, women and children in Orkung’u normally trekked between six and 12 miles — and Katita made two or three exhausting round trips daily. The water she relied on was visibly contaminated with animal droppings and other debris, but she had no other option for quenching the thirst of her children.

Today, though, Katita is giving thanks for the miracle of clean water! Lost time has been restored, and she is already noticing a visible improvement in her children’s health. She is also relieved that David will no longer travel far to water the animals. Their family will have more time together — a precious, priceless gift made possible by our generous supporters.

Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde blesses children in Orkung’u, Kenya.
Archbishop Martin Kivuva Musonde joined Fr. Fabian to celebrate the new water systems in the Archdiocese of Mombasa. Here, he uses some of the clean water to bless children in the community of Orkung’u.

Blessings Flow From Clean, Safe Water

Today, 67,177 people such as Pauline and Katita are giving thanks for clean water and the abundant blessings that it has brought to their lives. In addition to quenching thirst and restoring health, the new water systems have provided:

Educational Blessings: Through educational training sessions, communities have been equipped to protect their health and maintain their new water systems. In addition, children will be able to attend school consistently and arrive to class on time now that they will no longer be searching for water.

Agricultural Blessings: With enough water for their crops and livestock, small-scale farming households will be better able to produce a bountiful harvest.

Spiritual Blessings: No longer consumed with the quest for water, families will have more time to attend Mass and participate in parish activities. In the community of Tawa, for instance, average Mass attendance has already increased from 10 to 65 people

Indeed, countless blessings flow from the gift of safe, clean water, and we are grateful for every person, parish, school and group that came together to make these miracles possible. For generations to come, every sip of safe, clean water will serve as a refreshing reminder of God’s faithfulness reaching out through the Church.

We ask for your continued prayers and support as we keep working with faithful partners such as Fr. Fabian to address the water crisis in developing nations. Together, we can continue sharing Christ’s compassion through the life-transforming gift of clean water!

Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2023, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.