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Delivering food, shelter, and hope to the poorest of the poor
Donaliya Zulu knows the struggle to find clean water all too well. The mother of four lives in the Zambian community of Chassa Parish where the people collect water from the Manyanya River. Women like Donaliya often dig shallow holes on the banks of the river, collecting the groundwater at the bottom of the hole. Animals also drink from this water source, contaminating it with bacteria.
“I draw water from this river and I use it for my household,” said Donaliya. “I do not boil drinking water. My family and I just drink it like that.”
She says that she knows that this water is unsafe, but it’s her only option.
Donaliya and other women in her community gather to collect water and wash their clothing.
“Sometimes we come at 1 a.m. and we have to wait for the water to come up,” she said, explaining that there is often conflict over who can get to the water first since the supply is limited.
In our first reading from the second Sunday of Lent from Genesis 12:1-4a, God tells Abraham that he will bless all the nations of the earth through his family. Ultimately, that promise is fulfilled through the nation ofIsrael and Jesus, both his descendants. Through Jesus, we have been welcomed into God’s family. In recognition of this great gift, our families are called to bless other families — families like Donaliya’s. Providing them with the gift of clean water satisfies one of their most urgent needs and brings glory to God!
Genesis 12:1-4a (NRSVCE)
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
You probably chose one personal item to fast from during Lent, but is there something your entire family can fast from in order to help the Church deliver clean water to poor families? Maybe you agree to refrain from buying your family’s favorite snack at the grocery store or order water rather than soda and other expensive drinks the next time you all go to a restaurant. Put the money you save in your collection cup!
In addition to its impact on health, a scarcity of water influences many other aspects of everyday life. For women and girls like Donaliya, fetching water — even polluted water — takes hours of their day.
In rural Sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries, girls often wake up before their families to go collect water from the nearest source. Girls will miss large parts of the school day and their leisure time to go fetch water, which leaves them little time to study or play. Even when they successfully bring water back home, it’s often polluted with heavy metals like mercury and lead or contains bacteria that make them sick — little reward for a hard day’s work.
1. How much time does it take you to get the water you need every day? How does the fact that it takes Donaliya’s family hours to collect daily water make you feel?
2. What do you think about the idea that God can bless other families through your family?
3. How can you pray for Donaliya’s family and her community today?
Look with favor, Lord, on your household. Grant that, though our flesh be humbled by abstinence from food, our souls, hungering after you, may be resplendent in your sight.
~ Pope Pius V
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.