For Want of Clean Water

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of three children dies before the age of five.

That’s the statistic.

It’s not the face, or the laugh.

It’s not the hopes or the dreams.

For these, you have only to ask the ones left behind – the parents, the families, the friends, and in so many cases Sister Joan and the 108 other Sisters of Notre Dame working in-country.

They know what’s been lost.

And they know the principal culprit.

Contaminated water.

Sister Joan is a nurse. Some children she can save, some she can’t. Some are gone before she’s even able to arrive at their villages. But she’s putting everything she can into arresting the problem, bringing it to a halt.

As are her Sisters around her, as are her Sisters oceans away.

This is what she – and we – are doing.

We’re distributing water purification packets, which for $37 will provide a child enough clean water for a year.

We’re installing photovoltaic panels in villages, schools and clinics. These panels don’t generate electricity you and I are used to, but they’ll power water purification, and a pump. They’ll provide electricity for a small refrigerator, for medicine. They’ll charge a phone, so instead of a runner sent for Sister Joan, she can be on the way in minutes. One panel, for $1,600, will last for 25 years.

We’re drilling bore holes deep into water tables where the water is clean, that will provide whole villages with safe water for drinking and cooking, where before there had been none. The cost is substantial, anywhere from $11,500 to $25,000. But it’s a price we’re paying.

Think though of how much more we could do with our network of friends and former students behind us. Think of the children saved!

In this time of Lent, please consider a sacrifice not of personal comfort or routine, but an action sacrifice that will provide very life to the children and families of Africa.

Sister Joan thanks you, the families and children thank you, all of our Sisters thank you.

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