Springing Back to Life
Patricie Kankuriza often felt lonely. As a 65-year-old widow without any children to help support her, life felt like a constant struggle. As her health declined, Patricie’s doctor told her that she needed to drink more clean water to avoid serious illness. And while Patricie wanted to obey her doctor’s orders, the cost of compliance was steep.
Without access to clean water, Patricie had to spend $2 per day, nearly all she ever had, to buy firewood to boil her water. Despite her poor health, she had to haul two jerrycans of water back and forth to her home every day. It felt like all she did was haul jerrycans and spend money on firewood, leaving her little to no money to save for anything else. It was a vicious cycle that was robbing Patricie of hope.
Little did Patricie know that her situation had caught the attention of her local church. Knowing that Patricie was elderly and in poor health, the church advocated for her to be among those to receive SAM3 household filters through the Water Project.
But, sadly, Patricie was sick when the filters were handed out. She feared she had missed her opportunity to finally improve her life. Thankfully, Patricie’s fears weren’t realized. The church set her filter aside, waiting until she was healthy enough to receive her filter and go through the necessary training on how to use and maintain it.
Patricie knew that having access to filtered water would improve her life. What she didn’t know was just how much better her life was about to get. You see, while the water filter has provided Patricie with clean water for her physical health, it has also met another need – the need for community.
When Patricie’s neighbors heard that she had a water filter in her home, people began showing up at her door, asking if they could have some of her fresh, clean water to drink. And while her neighbors were getting clean water, Patricie was getting to know her neighbors.
It’s almost hard to remember when Patricie would sit by herself in her home, feeling sick and alone. “I am so happy for this filter. I am able to drink enough water as my doctor prescribed,” shared Patricie, enthusiastically. “And on top of that, I see my neighbors coming to visit me more often than before! As a lonely person, they could not come often. But now we get to interact even more as they come to get drinking water from my house! Which is amazing!” she said.
Like a wilted plant in desperate need of a drink, the gift of clean water seems to have helped Patricie spring back to life. Enjoying having visitors in her home, Patricie decided to seek out more social activities for herself. So, she joined a local savings group. According to Patricie, she wants to begin saving her money for future expenses and become more financially secure. She also wants to make more friends to keep herself engaged and socially active as she gets older.
It’s true that Patricie received a water filter, but that’s not all she received. She received better physical health, she received friendship and, best of all, she received hope. Thanks to a water filter, Patricie can envision a future, and is taking active steps to make sure that future is a good one.