Four communities in remote Inhambane West are praising God and The United Methodist Church for the lifesaving gift of clean, safe water.
The Missouri Mozambique Initiative, a partnership between the United Methodist Missouri Conference and the Mozambique Conference, has provided funds to drill 10 wells, four in Inhambane West, since February. Each of the wells is next to a United Methodist church. The government in Mozambique reports that more than half the population does not have access to clean water. The World Health Organization reports that diseases from drinking contaminated water account for the deaths of 1.8 million people each year.
“Giving water makes disciples for Christ and saves lives,” said Ezequiel Nhantumbo, representative of the Mozambique Initiative in Maputo.
Nhantumbo and the Rev. Rodolfo Carlos Baloi traveled to four churches in the Inhambane West district recently to see the people benefiting from the new wells.
With tears rolling down his face, Carlos Maganda Manguele, 70, greeted the visitors with joy. He is a member of the community around Mughowo United Methodist Church.
“Thank you, for I know you are the ones who helped drill this well. You may have seen some people washing clothes in an open well down there. This was our past. We used to drink from that water as well. Today things have changed,” he said.
Manguele said the availability of clean water has reduced disease. This is welcome news, since the nearest medical clinic is more than three hours on foot from the village.
“We lost many relatives due to cholera, particularly children and elderly people, who were left with no option but to die on the way to the hospital. This was and is still true for the pregnant women who deliver at home with all the risks incurred,” he said.
After leaving Mughowo, Nhantumbo and Baloi traveled many kilometers to Phaphu to visit Panda United Methodist Church.
People were sitting under a cashew nut tree on logs having worship service. “They had been waiting for us. Immediately we all walked to the well site,” said Nhantumbo. “There were two women fetching water at the well and they both ran towards me and one said: ‘We have seen Christ! Christ has risen! We would like to join this congregation from now on, for you brought hope and love and, above all, good health through provision of potable water. In the past, we walked for four hours to the nearest source of unsafe water. Now we are relieved.’”
More than 800 people drink from the new well, and each family contributes 50 cents a month. They have a committee that monitors health issues and maintains the well.
Church members in Mauaela and Mucocane also were grateful for the wells in their communities. “Oh Lord, your children are no longer thirsty!” said the Rev. Joana Aminosse, pastor of Mauaela United Methodist Church. “Your children are no longer sick of diarrhea; your children are no longer late at school; our mothers now have time to go to their fields and the productivity in our local sectors of activities increased.
“We are made of the same body of Christ, and this is why our relationship will never vanish. May God continue blessing us all, and let the joy be yours and ours as we share prayers and as we support each other in our daily ministry activities.”
Information for this United Methodist News Service report was provided by Ezequiel Nhantumbo, Mozambique Initiative representative in Maputo, and Carol P. Kreamer, coordinator of the initiative in the Missouri Conference. For more information on the initiative, contact email@example.com.