Thoughts on Clean Water

by Beth Peak, Mission Volunteer International-Long- Term, PCUSA

It's not that I've ever been ungrateful for clean water, it's just that I did not know how grateful I needed to be for having it available to me in abundance anytime I wanted it or needed it.

A woman and her 3-year old grandson were leaving the Puentes de Cristo mission site located in the Lucio Blanco neighborhood of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. They had filled their two five-gallon garafons with purified water from the water purification system located there. So, with her two big garafons of water and her little grandson all loaded in her wheelbarrow, they began to make their way home. Since there had been several days of heavy rain falling in Lucio Blanco, the dirt roads were very nearly impassable in a vehicle. After the woman made a few steps into the mud at the gates of the mission site, she slipped and fell. Her wheelbarrow tipped over, and ejected her little grandson and both garafons of water into the mud (which, by the way, had the distinct smell of a sewer). The top came off one of the garafons and clean water began to spill out. The little grandson was crying, unhurt, but no doubt scared because of having been thrown out of the wheelbarrow and becoming coated in stinky mud.

The woman immediately retrieved the little boy from the mud, and used an outdoor spigot to wash the mud off both of them. Those of us who were trying to help got the wheelbarrow picked up and washed out, refilled the garafon that had come open, and washed off the other one. She then decided to carry her little grandson and the water home in two trips, so as to have a lighter and more manageable load. While the little grandson waited with friends, his grandmother began again her journey home, wearing no shoes, pushing her wheelbarrow containing one garafon through mud that covered her ankles, that was I almost to her knees, and was getting the hem of her dress dirty. I remember thinking that I had never gone to that much trouble to have clean water to drink and with which to cook. Consuming water that has been cleansed of parasites, dirt, bugs, and chemicals can certainly make the difference in feeling good or bad, being sick or well, and living or dying.

Thanks be to God for the generous Presbyterians in the Synod of Living Waters for providing clean water in the name of Jesus Christ to many brothers and sisters around the world.