Water With Blessings equips and empowers mothers to become Water Women: compassionate agents of change in their communities, who filter clean water for their families and neighbours. Our sisters in Konzalendo recently took up the challenge to bring this project to the people in their local area. Here they tell us what happened:
During the month of July 2013 Sr Patricia Kenny brought to our notice the existence of Water With Blessings, Inc. and suggested that it might be beneficial to the people we work with here in Konzalendo. Later she sent us the documentation. We did nothing for some time; then towards the end of that year we became interested and she put us in touch with Sr Larraine Lauter, of Water With Blessings.
We had a long telephone conversation with Sr Larraine who explained the conditions and the expectations of Water With Blessings for all who partner with them. Having discussed the benefits of pure clean water in any family we, the Sisters, Maria, Rosemary and Imelda agreed to ‘covenant’ with Water With Blessings, and the process was set in motion. The filters, training materials and all the required items are provided by Water With Blessings, and what a wonderful surprise when on the 17th January the postman called with a big red bucket packed with all the items needed for the project. The buckets given to each of the Water Women are manufactured in South Africa and purchased locally as they are stronger than the usual plastic bucket.
The training material in English had to be translated to Chichewa, the language spoken in the area, and this took some time but was not a huge task for the sisters fluent in the language and who would be responsible for the training sessions. Also the covenant document was translated. We had to familiarize ourselves with what had to be done in preparation for the training, One bucket was assembled as an example for the women to see what the filtering system looked like and also to ensure that the training would be meaningful for them.
Twenty women (candidates) was the number agreed and these were selected/ put forward by the local community. This took some time as we wanted a cross section of people from different denominations. Eventually the twenty candidates were selected and these turned up on the 3rd of February for their first training session. Each session began and ended with prayer by one of the women who spontaneously prayed and at times invited the whole group to sing. All were enthusiastic, receptive and willing to become Water Women and commit themselves to the conditions required. They were delighted when told that they are the first women in Malawi to covenant with Water With Blessings, Inc. Two other training sessions followed and on the 14th February all were ready to decorate the buckets, and then to assemble and attach the filters. Then each one signed the covenant.
It was an exciting afternoon as each woman received a bucket and then set about writing her code, name and decorating the bucket. The art work was fascinating! Some time was taken to once more explain the conditions of the covenant. Demonstrating how to assemble the filter and the way in which it works was crucial. Each bucket was then tested and what rejoicing when all passed the test. We then had a photo call! Photos were taken of every woman with her children, also one of the whole group.
Mrs Veronica Kalunga was chosen as the coordinator – and their first meeting will be held on the 10th March. The sisters will, over a period of time, visit the homes of the Water Women to encourage and ensure that they are carrying out the conditions of the covenant.
That evening twenty women went home rejoicing and quite proud of their achievement! Thanks to Water with Blessings, Inc.,