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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Clean water brings immediate benefits

SOUTHERN ETHIOPIA - One year ago poverty had Tomas and his family firmly in its grasp.

Omolo, his wife, was suffering from a waterborne illness that had rendered one of her arms all but useless.

Tomas was away from home for days at a time, often traveling more than 8-hours a day in search of labour work that would help him earn money to buy food and medicine for his wife and children.

Their drinking water, gathered from a muddy stream near their modest thatched home, was destroying their health, forcing Tomas and Omolo to spend forty percent of their meagre monthly earnings on medicine and visits to the doctor. Their children, chronically malnourished and often sick, were suffering greatly and their future was as bleak as the dirty water they drank.

However, everything changed the day the water system HOPE International Development Agency donors funded was completed in Tomas and Omolo’s village of Kalbo Laka. The system includes four capped springs, three large reservoirs, and thirteen watering points (taps) throughout the village. Clean water had arrived, and with it the promise of a much improved life for Tomas, Omolo, their children, and the entire village.

Almost immediately, life began to improve.

The children were no longer sick all of the time. Medical expenses that had consumed almost half of the family’s meagre monthly income fell to nearly zero as Omolo’s arm began to recover, and the children’s health improved.

The boys are now in school and Omolo is learning as well by participating in a local self-help group focused on helping women and families improve their health and income.

Tomas no longer travels to seek labour work. He focuses his efforts on the family farm which now yields much more food and income than it did before he was able to work at home with his family.

Omolo participates in health and hygiene classes provided in conjunction with the clean water. Her contribution to her family’s health can be seen in the smiling faces of her children.

Tomas is expanding the amount of land under cultivation and is building a new house for his family. The original house will be used to shelter the animals and provide a space for cooking.

Much has changed for the better in just one year for Tomas and Omolo and the future holds great promise for the family as they lift themselves out of poverty through your help and their hard work.