Water for Christmas

Shared by Cara Murray

If you ask Pastor John what the kids at Nkumba Ministries have to drink, he will tell you that they drink porridge.  Porridge is their 10 am snack since most of the students do not get breakfast.  But porridge, though served in a cup, is not a liquid drink and certainly not a substitute for water.  Boiling water for more than 1200 children is an impossible task (given the facilities), and the truth of the matter is that the kids and staff at Nkumba Ministries typically go the entire day without drinking any water.

When we learned that the kids and staff at Nkumba go all day without water, we began talking about this need with Nkumba leadership.

As we researched the signs of dehydration we noticed a startling resemblance between the signs of dehydration and signs of malaria.  As you can see from the chart below they have incredible similarities.

Signs of dehydration:·

  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Muscle soreness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
Signs of Malaria:·

  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

I  (Cara) went to Uganda this past June to visit Pastor John and Nkumba Ministries and on my first day in Uganda, a staff member and I took 3 kids to the clinic to be treated for malaria.  Because malaria is so frequently contracted and because of the additional expense of performing blood tests, people are not tested for it.  Malaria is the assumed malady–not just at Nkumba, but throughout the country.

Even after taking the malaria medication for 3 days, the kids still weren’t feeling better.  I can’t help but wonder if those kids actually had malaria or if they were just in desperate need of water.


Before I left to move to Nkumba (earlier this month), I shared the need with my friends and family, and enough money was donated to drill the first well!  The water will be clean and safe to drink straight from the well and will provide water to over 1500 students and staff daily.

The reason I say the “first” well, is because we are hoping this will be one of many drilled throughout Africa.  As you may recall from the famine-relief trip to Teso, the Nkumba leadership saw the desperate need for clean water.  Each well costs between $6,000 and $8,500, depending on depth.

Additionally, we’ve learned there is a significant need at Pastor John’s home.  This is the home where, at any given time, 10 to 20 orphans live, along with his wife Esther and four children.  Because they do not have a water tank, and because the city water is unreliable and can be off for days at a time, they run out of water–drinking and otherwise.  Not a good situation! To provide the water tank and necessary piping will cost $3,000.

Christmas is just around the corner and as you start thinking about what to buy for your family and friends, I ask that you consider giving CLEAN WATER as a gift to somebody this year.  I would imagine that most people would love to be told that in lieu of a gift, a donation had been made in their name to help provide fresh drinking water for children in Uganda.

One billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s one in six of us. A child dies every 15 seconds because of the lack of clean water. Clean water supply can help prevent deadly diseases like diarrhea, cholera and typhoid.*  I can’t think of a better gift!

*CharityWater.org and Water.cc

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