It was one of our last days visiting different sectors in Rwanda. Many men and women had shared how clean water has impacted their lives greatly, giving them hope, purpose, and new life.
When we visited homes, we were told that children could now attend school regularly and the family had regular funds because they were no longer spending days at the health clinic due to drinking dirty water. Then, we visited schools, been surrounded by the children there, and could see the joy that clean water brings. We also attended a filter distribution, where families from all over came to receive their brand-new water filter and walked away with life-changing joy I cannot begin to describe.
I had a week of these wonderful, heart-warming, and heart-breaking experiences under my belt, and yet I had never seen such beauty until arriving in Nyamasheke. There were hills of green that stretched for miles. After a long, bumpy drive, which local Rwandans called an “African massage”, we arrived at a local church where many people from the district had come to meet with us.
We gathered in the church, and a few wonderful water project volunteers from the district shared their testimonies with us. A beautiful woman stood up, Rhonda, and began sharing her story.
When Rhonda was three, she lost her parents and her siblings in the genocide. With no family, she grew up in extreme poverty. At a young age, she quickly turned to prostitution, drugs, and alcohol. For years of her life, that was her only option. Until one of the local volunteers from 20 Liters and World Relief Rwanda reached out to her. Rhonda became a water project volunteer and received a filter. Through this, she found faith in the Lord and a purpose in her life again.
I have never worked so hard to hold back tears as the testimonies continued. Since I was a young girl, I have had a passion for making dirty water clean. I always knew the impact clean water has on a life – how important it is for health, stability, and education. Even after a week of traveling around Rwanda, meeting with families who had received filters, it had not fully sunk how great an impact clean water truly holds until hearing Rhonda’s story of how clean water created new life in her.
Clean water is about so much more than just clean water. It doesn’t just mean health. It doesn’t just mean economic or educational stability. Clean water can mean finding hope, purpose, and new life.
From the Field Notes of Greta Zwyghuizen. Greta Zwyghuizen has been a clean water advocate since age 7. At this age, Greta learned that many young girls walk daily for water that often makes them sick. She knew something had to be done and started the now annual Zeeland Walk for Water. Greta is passionate about working to solve the world’s most complex problems, one step at a time.