Basic Blessings, Part Two


Years ago, I learned of the global water crisis. In much of the world, women will walk miles every morning, each bringing back a 5 gallon container filled with 40 pounds of dirty water. It will have to suffice for all their families’ needs until the end of the day, when they repeat the trip. Many who drink the water will fall ill, but they have no other choice.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that a great many organizations are working to help change the situation: Living Water International, charity: water, Blood:Water Mission, and The Water Project are just a few of the ministries changing lives every day, working to make the water crisis a thing of the past. Recently, a friend told me about Partners for Care, an organization whose mission is to provide salaries to Kenyans who carry out their work and vision there. Their health, sanitation and water improvement programs are led and accomplished by Kenyans for Kenyans.

One of the Kenyans, a pastor, came to the USA for the first time in order to meet with the staff of Partners for Care. As you can imagine, the cultural differences he saw here were astounding. His observations were both amusing and thought provoking. I’ve been given permission to share them with you.

  • “Is it illegal for people not to own a car?” (He hadn’t seen anyone walking.)
  • “Are you allowed to drive old cars in the US?” (By Kenyan standards all our cars are new.)
  • “Is there hot water in the shower, and is the tap water safe to drink?”
  • “I slept with my blanket over my head last night. I could not find any mosquito netting.”
  • “America is dollar country because it has everything. You can even sleep outside, because there are no wild animals to eat you. Americans have plenty of firewood, but most don’t even need it.” (He mentioned that he was expecting a call from his family soon to say that they had run out of firewood.)
  • “How can you throw food away?” (He had even eaten the little package of butter at a restaurant because he didn’t want to see it wasted.)

Today I will take a hot shower, drink clean water, eat plenty of food, ride in a new (ish) car, and go to sleep in a climate controlled, mosquito-free bedroom. And because of that Kenyan Pastor, I’ll be more keenly aware of those basic blessings! Happy Thanksgiving indeed!


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