Constructing wells is a delicate and complicated process, especially in Kenya. 28Bold’s founder, Christan, figured that out for herself during her trip there last fall. From the difficulty of gaining access for drilling to communicating across cultural barriers, completing the process within the West African country was not easy.
Kenya is a proud nation, rich in different customs and diverse terrains, but its governmental systems are shrouded in corruption. Much of business in Kenya is done with bribery, and many of its people live day to day without basic necessities, including clean water.
Despite the challenges Christan and her team encountered abroad, she knew that the locals were in critical need of clean water for various purposes, including bathing, drinking, and cleaning. Christan recalled a time when, after successfully drilling a well, a local woman with a small child on her back approached her and exclaimed,
“I never thought I’d be able to bathe my child every night.”
This instance serves as a reminder of how access to usable water truly is a blessing. Christan and her team worked tirelessly to bring the same joy felt by this woman to Kenya. However, it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing: there were several barriers to the clean water Kenyans deserved.
Complications with Drilling
Christan has worked abroad before, serving people throughout the African continent. Her time in Kenya was a learning experience, which forced her to reevaluate and tackle obstacles she had never faced before. In Kenya, several permits are required to access and drill wells. That process was challenging for Christan and her team, and once they had the ‘green light’ to drill, there were other difficulties.
To build the wells, a rigorous drilling process is required. Christan had to drill 260 meters down to get to water. Once her team began, the drill bit broke.
“When a drill bit breaks, the only option is to take everything out… 260 meters… and start over. I was upset, to say the least.”
Christan said the drill mechanic that was running the rig reported to her that he’d push it, and see what would happen.
“He (the drill mechanic) said, miraculously, we continued on another 40 meters to be able to get where we needed to be. He said, ‘The only way I can explain it was that it was a miracle from God.”’
When the drill team started test-pumping water, Christan noticed that people started to line up for the potential of clean water.
“There were lines wrapped around the corner… the block… of women and children waiting for water,” Christan noted.
This shows, she remarked, how impactful it will be when it is running and accessible.
With its Biblically based name, 28Bold stands out from other organizations in the way that Christan conducts business. The name originally came from Proverbs 28 which says “the righteous are bold as a lion.” Christan’s organization is built upon the boldness and strength of the motif of a lion. And as a Christian, helping those with less has always been one of her top priorities, and that reflects on the selflessness of her business model.
Meanwhile, she is aware that she is neither infallible nor all-knowing. In order to maintain balance, Christan is adamant about listening to the communities she is helping. Rather than speaking over them or assuming, she approaches every situation with an open mind. As a visitor to a foreign country, she tries to take an empathetic perspective to the work she does.
“I have to think, what do they want? What is their goal?” Christan added.
Christan is aware of her American-ness in other countries, and she finds that approaching other cultures with an open heart is the best way to achieve success. Listening and understanding to the needs of the community, Christan feels, is the only option when working across cultural barriers.
Bold, courageous, and empathetic, Christan continues to work toward accessible clean water in Kenya and other countries in Africa. If you would support Christan’s mission in providing clean water solutions to Kenya and other African countries, click here.
You’re Part of the Equation
At Connect for Water, supporting and sharing stories like Christan’s is part of our mission. As a member of our network, you’re already on board with our mission. Continue to share and read these inspiring water stories, as they’re the link between you and water-needing communities. If you’d like to take on a mission of your own, there are several ways to help through Connect for Water. Visit our giving page to find the right option for you and help us help others.
When we think of our basic hygiene practices, we rarely think of the impact it has on human dignity. For many of us, maintaining personal hygiene is something done mindlessly. The act of brushing teeth or showering is often seen as a chore; nothing more, nothing less. And because many of us are fortunate to have access to clean water to ensure proper hygiene, it’s often taken for granted.
Hygiene’s Relation To Dignity
No one likes going days without cleaning themselves as it makes one feel dirty, tired, and uncomfortable in social situations. Maintaining good personal hygiene is part of maintaining dignity. While the act of cleaning is symbolic for a fresh start, feeling clean provides a sense of self-respect, self-worth, and ultimately gives a sense of dignity.
Being clean helps provide dignity as it enables people to feel more confident, valued, and worthy of honor. It changes their countenance, the way they carry themselves, and helps them to better engage with others.
Hygiene Around The World
Initially, we tend to think that every person around the globe uses the same hygiene practices as us. This is not true as different countries and societies have their own hygienic practices. However, despite the various perspectives of hygiene practices, its relation to dignity is transcendent around the world.
In Japan, hygiene practices are rooted in the Shinto religion. While these days, many Japanese don’t consider themselves as religious, the original belief that bathing cleans both the body and spirit has led the Japanese to carefully uphold the practice of cleanliness. Customs such as visiting onsens, hand-washing, and bathing contribute to their cultural identity. It’s doing these practices that make them feel refreshed, self-respected, and dignified.
In other places such as India, however, hygiene’s relation to dignity results in different practices. Instead of using toilets at home, many people would rather do it openly, far from home, and in secrecy. This is due to the belief that defecation is a shameful act. While many might think that it’s cleaner and safer to use a toilet at home, even if a family had a home toilet, being seen using it causes shame as they consider it a shameful and polluted act. So instead, many decide to go far away from their home to relieve themselves.
Western countries such as the United States, maintaining hygiene helps maintain dignity. Keeping up with hygiene shows others that you take care of yourself and have self-respect as it often reflects on a person’s status. It also shows that you are worthy of respect, value, and dignity by others.
Hygiene and Wellness
While the perception of and resources for maintaining good hygiene differ around the world, proven benefits of the practice are widespread. Those benefits include reducing anxiety, increasing productivity and confidence, and ultimately providing a sense of self-worth.
To begin, showers can help reduce anxiety and promote calmness. Hot temperatures can help relax tense muscles as well as open nasal passages allowing you to breathe better and unwind.
When concerning productivity, studies have shown that spending time showering is “thinking time.” However, putting issues and problems in the back of your mind while focusing on the task of cleaning doesn’t seem productive as it appears to look like procrastination. Nonetheless, studies show that when engaging in mindless activities such as cleaning, your conscious mind takes a break. This helps allow your mind to think other thoughts as well as help find solutions to the initial problem.
Showering can help boost one’s confidence. According to Wellness Workdays, while showering in general helps boost confidence, morning showers are more beneficia. This is because it sets the tone for the day. The act of being and feeling clean increases levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, happy-hormones. This helps provide a sense of self-worth which helps increase your value in the eyes of others because they see you value yourself
Providing Dignity Through Hygiene
With so much mention of hygiene and dignity, it begs the question, what about those who can’t maintain personal hygiene?
Unfortunately, the largest group of people in western countries without access to resources to maintain hygiene are the unhoused. Because the majority of the unhoused communities are unable to maintain good personal hygiene, it results in increased anxiety, depression, the decrease of productivity, and decline in confidence. Other effects include feelings of worthlessness which negatively affects social interactions.
Fortunately, there are organizations striving to meet the need for personal hygiene. Our partners at Business Connect are attempting to remedy the lack of supplies by connecting with organizations such as LoveOne in Oregon. LoveOne is a nonprofit organization in Oregon dedicated to helping communities in need of food, clean laundry, and showers.
Don’t Take It For Granted
Hygiene is often an overlooked or forgotten part of the water space. But it is key to improving the quality of life for many around the world. If you are fortunate enough to have easy access to clean water, we encourage you to not take it for granted.
In addition, if you know an organization or homeless community in need of hygiene products, we ask you to consider reaching out to our partners at Business Connect.
If you share a heart for clean water for all life, we invite you to connect with us and follow our social media. Lastly, we encourage you to help educate those in your community about the importance of clean and accessible water!
At Connect for Water, we often ask ourselves how we can bring clean water to those in need in a sustainable way. One of the ways our partners, Ekisinga Ministries, are doing just that is through water kiosks in Jinja Town, Uganda.
Most of the Ugandan urban population get their water from the Uganda National Water and Sewage Corporation (NWSC). Because most families do not have water running to their homes, water comes from community standpipes. Water is collected in jerry cans and brought back to the homes for consumption. Water testing has proven that the water quality is not consistent and contains microbiological contamination that leads to sickness and death.
It is well known by Ugandans that the water that comes from the NWSC standpipes must be boiled or treated before it can be consumed. Boiling water is accomplished by burning wood, charcoal or LP gas. These methods are expensive, use natural resources and are time consuming.
They also found that not all water will be consumed and thus does not need to be treated. Non-consumable situations include bathing and washing clothes. However, water that is consumed or used to wash dishes and fruits and vegetables needs to be treated. An affordable solution needed to address both of these areas.
Through your generous donations, two facility filtration systems were gifted to Ekisinga. These systems will be connected to the existing NWSC standpipe infrastructure to provide safe and reliable drinking water at affordable prices. The revenue will provide sustainable funds to maintain the filtration system for many years and pay for additional systems to be installed in surrounding neighborhoods. As community members typically purchase bottled water, this system will also help them save money and reduce plastic waste.
This is just one of the many ways your support has provided clean water to those in need. Sustainability is always a key aspect of the projects that we partner with. We have seen how projects that require participants to pay something for clean water have a much greater impact and multiply their impact.
At Connect for Water, we are all about helping people gain access to clean water. We have partners in over 65 countries and are constantly reaching more communities with clean water. Yet what about the people in our own backyard? There are many communities across the United States that need access to clean water. We think of those affected by winter storms in Texas, those with contaminated water in Flint, Michigan and those living on American Indian Reservations. These communities have a real need for clean water today.
Many of these communities are in need of clean water because their water infrastructure has been damaged. In Texas at the height of the water crisis and winter storms in February 2021, nearly 15 million people did not have access to clean water. At first, the rolling blackouts caused many water treatment centers to be shut down. This lowered the supply to many areas. At the same time, freezing temperatures broke many water pipes. These factors combined to lower the pressure in the water systems which meant that bacteria was more likely to grow. Texans were encouraged to boil their water, but many could not even turn on their stoves without electricity. This led to many Texans reaching out to disaster relief organizations who brought in clean water. Natural disasters from the wildfires in the west to hurricanes in the southeast can cause clean water shortages. This is why it is so important to be aware of clean water solutions and how you can help in these situations.
There are also many communities in the United States that do not have access to reliable water infrastructure. On many American Indian reservations, clean water is not readily available. According to recent research by NPR, more than 2 million Americans do not have access to clean water. Fifty-eight out of every 1,000 Native American households lack plumbing, compared with 3 out of every 1,000 white households. This leads to a higher rate of deaths, poverty and unemployment in these communities. Darlene Yazzie shared that she has to drive 9 miles to buy clean water. These communities are never able to raise enough money to pay for the extensive infrastructure needed to gain access to clean water.
We share these stories to encourage you to be on the lookout for opportunities to provide clean water in our own communities. We love helping in other countries, but what can we do to help our neighbors? If you would like to be a part of our work, in the US and around the world, become a water sponsor. This is a great way to partner with us.
In our work, we have the privilege of knowing many who have a heart to address the need for clean water around the world. Everyone has their own story and solution. Check out this story from one of our partners. He shares about helping to bring clean water to a variety of communities from Vietnam to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“In the 1970s and 1980s, as a professional engineer, I was researching the possibility of supplying tribes in the Sahara with solar powered water pumps which could draw water from the depths beneath the sand for their use. It turned out that the technology was not there at the time, as the water tables can be 500′ deep.
I then went to Vietnam and the Philippines in 1999 and 2001 to help with the management of medical waste through high temperature incinerators we were developing. These incinerators were oxygen fed to boost the temperature and eliminate dioxins and other dangerous byproducts in the smoke. During that time, I was asked to help with the construction of a milk plant in Saigon which could produce lactose free milk for the young women who were giving birth to malformed children because they were drinking water from contaminated lakes and rivers. They were contaminated with Agent Orange leaching from the nearby forested areas which had been defoliated during the Vietnam War or, what the Vietnamese call the American War. In fact, the tap water in Hanoi had to be boiled for at least 20 minutes to break down the very thick virus spores which it contained.
In the Philippines, I was asked to see what could be done with the contaminated water in the water supply of Cebu, the capital city of the province of Cebu in the Philippines. This water was contaminated with heavy metals from industrial byproducts. I was also looking into what could be done about the bacterial contamination of Manila’s water supply which could cause serious health issues.
Of concern, recently, was the problem of contaminated water in developing countries. A promising product caught my attention: Water bags that could be filled with dirty water and made drinkable by emptying a packet of water purifying powder into the bag. It seemed to me that there were some issues with this approach, which could otherwise be used temporarily in national emergencies following flooding or earthquakes: The bag could become contaminated by dumping it in dirty water. Furthermore, as poor people came to the end of their supply of water purifying powder packets, their natural tendency would be to prolong the supply by reducing the quantity of powder dumped into the water bat, with the risk of drinking unknowingly water only partially decontaminated.
That’s when I spoke to the Business Connect team and they suggested I look at the VF200 prefilters combined with the VF100 water filters which could last indefinitely, and whose exterior need not be in contact with contaminated water. We provided these filters to communities and dispensaries in remote regions of Africa. Villages in Haiti, Madagascar, and South America, for example, could also make use of these filters to provide people with safe drinking water.
My goal moving forward is to put whatever money is available towards supplying filters to people who have no access to clean water. The issues are so numerous: people without access to potable water because of pollution, dry climate conditions, hurricanes and earthquakes which destroy water supply facilities, undrinkable seawater…”
This story highlights a heart to help those in need and the many ways one can champion clean water. We are thankful that so many have noticed a need and taken action. If you would like to be a part of clean water work, become a water sponsor. This is a simple way to partner with those who have a similar heart and become a champion yourself!
For 22 years we lived in five African countries, and then visited almost 50 countries in total. We lived through four military coups and I was stranded for over a week while borders were closed in one instance. When our U.S. national elections came around, I was always so grateful and amazed that we were able to change leadership without the threat of violence. No matter the differences, there was a sense that we were first of all Americans and secondarily members of a political party. Today, it seems we have reversed that role.
Weekly I meet with a dozen men and women. Our theme or purpose is a joint journey of discussion and discovery regarding Faith and Current Events. More than any time in my lifetime, I feel it is critical to be engaged politically. I want to discuss ideas not people, although some very good people have some very bad ideas. We are not of one mind and have very different ideas on the direction of our country, it’s policies, and will likely vote very differently. However, we have something more important than our political views that hold us together.
It is my hope that each of us refuse to be branded by a political party. I do not want a label attached to my name because I affirm a certain position, nor will I label anyone else. I want to know why you think the way you do. Mimicking what partisan political pundits and friends are posting on Facebook without doing our own homework does nothing to advance the common good. I pray that I will think and act with wisdom and love and justice. I do not pray that God be with me but rather that I should be where He is. Think deeply about the country you want to experience and flourish in and do vote. We have such a privilege to participate in the future of our country.