Remembering Water

May 20, 2015 • Bolivia
Remembering Water

Experiencing firsthand the importance of water

Keri Carpenter is a general intern with Samaritan's Purse in Bolivia.

On March 22, World Water Day reminded people about water. I often forget about it. I don’t forget to drink it on a daily basis; I instead forget about its importance. I forget how precious it is. So many things are connected to this resource—health, growth, development, and survival.

When I arrived on the field the week of March 21, water decided to remind me of its importance.

At the beginning of the week, I experienced life without water. Due to some community construction, our field base didn’t have any. I was thankful I brought drinking water with me from the city for personal use, but no other water meant no flushing the toilet, no boiling water for tea, and no showers.

Remembering Water

Fruit from the farmers

There were days when we traveled uphill to the men’s field base with buckets to carry water back to our living quarters. This small inconvenience is nothing compared to what other people experience on a daily basis. While I trudged uphill, I remembered various Samaritan’s Purse tweets from different offices during World Water Day: teams fixing hand pumps, children learning about water, and the post “On average, women in developing countries spend 25% of their day collecting water for their families.” There are women spending a quarter of each day collecting water. And here I was huffing and puffing at the slight inconvenience of less than an hour’s work.

In the middle of the week, I witnessed life blooming because of water. I jumped on the back of a motorcycle and traveled down mountain curves with Samaritan’s Purse Bolivia’s agricultural and livestock team. After about 45 minutes, we reached a small mountain community of 10 farmers outside the town of Chuma.

We hiked farther down the mountain to reach the adobe house of one of the farmer beneficiaries. We all gathered in a circle around our agricultural team member Freddy as he summarized the irrigation system he helped design. Freddy presented the final part of his project to the farmers. The irrigation project has been functioning for the past six months and will provide water for a community of 10 farmers. Using the water from a nearby waterfall, he and the farmers were able to create an irrigation system that will run to each farm. This access to water will enable crops to grow.

Remembering Water

The waterfall where the farmers get their water

After hearing about the success of the irrigation system, I trekked around the property to see the fruit of the labor. We climbed the side of the mountain and found land full of papayas, avocados, lemons, and other scrumptious fruit. As I walked across the farmland, I saw growth. And water helped make that happen.

I thank God for the work Samaritan’s Purse is doing with this resource. I often forget that there are some people who don’t have access to clean water. Water provides life. And I hope that now whenever I use it, I’ll remember the life it brings and the way it points to the ultimate giver of everlasting life.

“… but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life” John 4:14, NKJV.

The Samaritan’s Purse internship program is an opportunity for college students and recent graduates to use their skills to impact the world in a tangible way. Find out more here.