The Importance of Water

April 3, 2012 • Nigeria

By Abby Anderson, who works with her husband, Mark, to manage the Egbe Hospital revitalization program in Nigeria.

We continue to have severe water shortages on the compound, and what we thought was bad has continued on to worse.

We have three boreholes that pump water into two storage tanks. But to pump the water we need electricity. Nigeria as a whole has been having a huge electrical problem for over a month. Well, we normally have electrical problems, but this is actually worse than normal. Basically we have NO electricity for six weeks!

So we don’t have electricity to pump the water, which results in even less water going into the tanks in an already very dry “dry season.” Thus, we have our severe water crisis.

Our daily water schedule is still in effect, but often only a trickle comes out when we turn on the tap. Most of the time we use buckets that we have sitting all over the kitchen and bathrooms to wash our hands, wash dishes, fill our water filter, and for any emergency toilet flushes!

What an experience it is to learn such a lesson on water, and to realize its importance and value as a natural resource. You really can’t imagine it until you experience it and live it. I feel I now understand it even though it has been a terrible thing to have to learn.

I feel so blessed, even with the water problems that we do have, knowing it could be much worse. We don’t have to fetch water from a source that is kilometers from our house and carry it home in a bucket just to drink, wash clothes, bathe, or flush the toilet.

You can imagine how easily things become unsanitary in an area that struggles with water. I mean, would you wash your hands if it meant that your family wouldn’t have anything to drink? Washing your hands moves to the bottom of the list and other things quickly move ahead, and things start to get very dirty fast!

I am amazed at the Nigerian people, how happy they are, how resilient and resourceful they are, and how they rely on God for everything! From water to safety to food to clean air to breath, these are their daily prayers. I know because I hear them when we pray together with our workers. Americans rely on themselves because they can. Nigerians rely on God because they have to. Their lives depend on Him! Wow!

Due to our severe water issues we have now undertaken a huge new project that was not originally on the docket for this year. The hospital has a dam and reservoir that was built in the 50s that is now crumbling and in desperate need of repair. Or rather, we are in desperate need of having it repaired!

We have started the long and arduous task of draining the reservoir, diverting the fresh spring water, dredging out the years of muck on the bottom, and repairing the dam walls and complex filter system. Let the fun begin!