Welcome to the new Go Beyond Water blog — the third in a new series of country-specific blogs by Kingsland’s missions ministry. Our water well drilling teams will post updates, photos, and videos from the field to this site. We will also post information on trip preparation and other matters. If you would like to read more about water initiatives in El Salvador, you can read my posts on our previous trips filed under the El Salvador category on my Go Beyond blog.
by Omar C. Garcia | Playa Salinitas, El Salvador
Originally posted 11 February 2011
I first became aware of the scope of the human toll exacted by lack of water while in Darfur, Sudan in the winter of 2004. While there, I visited the Abu Shouk and Zamzam camps for internally displaced peoples. The United Nations guys working in the area told our team that one of the greatest needs in this arid and unforgiving region is water. Each water well located near these camps serviced two to four hundred people per day. Simple math revealed that there were not enough wells to provide sufficient water for the tens of thousands of people struggling to survive the extreme heat under scant shade. What shocked me most was learning that diarrhea was the number one cause of death in the camps. People died because they did not have enough water to rehydrate. The second leading cause of death was man-made malaria. Water stored in open containers became a breeding ground for mosquitos.
Those of us who have access to clean water are fortunate and blessed indeed. Today, 844 million people on the planet lack access to clean and safe water. Of these, infants and children are the most vulnerable. Almost two million children die from diarrhea every year. To put this number into perspective, one child dies every fifteen seconds because of a water-related disease. 5000 children under the age of five will die today because they lacked access to safe drinking water, because they lived in places that had inadequate sanitation, and because of poor hygiene — all water-related issues. Access to clean water would change everything for these children and their families.
I have returned to El Salvador with my friend Jim Coleman and a team from Kingsland. We are going to spend the next few days drilling a water well in partnership with our friends at Living Water International. Last year, our missions ministry sponsored the drilling of two water wells in El Salvador. These wells are providing safe water for hundreds of poor El Salvadorans. We are sponsoring two additional wells this year. I appreciate the work of Living Water. They mobilize thousands of volunteers every year to drill water wells in countries around the world. Living Water International states that they exist “to demonstrate the love of God by helping communities acquire desperately needed clean water, and to experience ‘living water’ — the gospel of Jesus Christ — which alone satisfies the deepest thirst.” And, without question, Living Water is living up to that purpose every day in big ways all over the world.
Our missions ministry is committed to partnering with Living Water to be a part of the solution and to work toward the day when children no longer die every fifteen seconds because of water-related issues. And, we are also committed to helping people taste the living water that alone can satisfy our deepest thirst. We believe that demonstrating God’s love in such practical ways will help hasten the day when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). The next time you enjoy a hot shower or a cool and refreshing drink of water, remember those whose lives are at risk because they lack water. You can be a part of the solution by supporting initiatives that make water accessible to those who need it most.