Theresie Mukarugema has long been known in her community as a woman with a big heart. As an elderly widow who lives along the riverside she is one of the poorest of the poor.
Since the war in Rwanda in 1994 she has been taking in orphaned children. The orphans of the genocide are now grown and have left her home. However, her care-giving days of orphaned children are not over.
2 years ago a baby, about 7 months old, was found in the field in front of her house. He was abandoned by his mother because of a disability that has left him with no muscle control. Now three years old, this little one cannot sit, or stand, and he cannot hold his head up by himself. Theresie needs to feed him his meals, bathe him, and carry him each time he is moved.
The widow makes frequent trips down to the swamp to get water for her garden and for drinking. The water is murky, filled with bacteria, worm cysts and parasites. It is the kind of water that makes little ones like the disabled child miserable with stomach aches, diarrhea. He and all children without access to clean water are susceptible to all kinds of water borne diseases.
Sitting on her bench, holding the little boy with filter quietly dripping in the back ground, Theresie expresses deep gratitude for her filter. Although this child and this grandma face almost impossible challenges in the future, because of having a filter, clean safe drinking water is not one of them.