Water is a precious gift that sustains life!
For the poor in the missions, a plentiful, clean supply of water is not a given.
At many mission sites, women and children must walk for miles to fill a bucket or jug with whatever water they can find. Then they balance it on their head and carry the heavy load back home. One container a day supplies just enough for drinking and cooking, but not for bathing.
Across the globe, contaminated water is the leading cause of death and disease. It takes the lives of thousands of people each day, most of them children under the age of five. People who bathe in muddy, contaminated ponds are sickened and sometimes die after exposure to bacteria and parasites in the water.
Ask any of our Franciscan missionaries who are ministering to the poor in developing countries, and they will tell you that clean water is more precious than gold!
In India, polluted water claimed seven lives a day in 2018. According to government data, 36,000 people each day are diagnosed with water-borne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, viral hepatitis, and acute diarrheal diseases.
Who in the world would want to drink a cup of dirty water? I would not. Would you? And neither do the men, women and children who have no other choice, because they live where clean water is nonexistent.
Unfortunately, the Franciscan missionary friars in the state of Kerala on the southwestern coast of India know this all too well. The water cycle there has only two seasons, monsoon and drought.
This year the monsoon season came with weeks of torrential rains that caused severe flooding. The flood waters washed animal waste and other pollutants into village wells, making the water undrinkable.
The monsoon season is over now, and the drought season is in full swing. Thousands of villagers do not have access to clean water.
Father Davis Kalookaran, OFM serves the poor villages in this region, and he estimates that about 25,000 people in his district need a clean water source.
But Fr. Davis and his Franciscan community are working on solutions to this tragedy! The missionary friars have obtained high-volume water pumps, generators, piping and chemicals for water purification. They rented jeeps to transport the equipment and skilled volunteer labor from village to village.
Working with volunteers from the Catholic parish of Amblavayil, they pump the water out of a contaminated village well, clean it as best they can and pump in fresher water. They then treat the well with chemicals to purify the water.
The clean water provided by the cleansed well greatly improves the health of the villagers and saves lives. So far, they have cleaned about forty village wells, but there are so many more contaminated wells in the area! As you can imagine, cleansing and refilling each well is an expensive endeavor.
This ongoing project is funded by the local Franciscan missions, but Fr. Davis and the other friars have limited resources. With your help, they could clean more contaminated wells and save more lives. So, Fr. Davis reached out to us for help.
Franciscan missionaries are also actively providing fresh, clean water to the war refugees in Syria, to the poor in Peru, to orphanages in India and Africa and other Franciscan missions!
Will you please give a generous gift, so we can bring lifesaving water to poor children and families in the missions? Water is a precious gift that YOU have the power to provide!
These families rely on missionaries like Fr. Davis and other Franciscans, and we are relying on you. Like gold, the price of water can be very costly, but with your help, people in the missions can have clean, safe water. The lives you save are priceless.
May our loving God bless you and reward you for hearing the cry of the poor and answering with love and generosity.