It was early October in rural Rwanda. The whole week had been dry. We had visited multiple churches with empty Rain Water Harvest Systems. The rainy season would start any day and I could feel the anticipation.
For the people living near a church with a Rain Water Harvest System, the rain means a much shorter walk to collect your daily water. The rain means better health for your family. For churches, the rain means more opportunities to speak God’s word. The rain means more opportunities to build community and serve.
We were at a church in the Gashora sector for the day. In the morning, our volunteers had worked hard to distribute filters to local families. But, as the afternoon approached, we began to welcome the family members of our volunteers who had come for the day’s main event. Our volunteers had completed their training and would be receiving certificates to recognize them for their accomplishment.
As we gathered in the church to begin our meeting, the skies darkened and the rain began. We spoke loudly in the meeting, to be heard over the tinkling sound of rain on a metal roof.
But soon, the tinkling turned to a pounding. Our raised voices turned to shouts that couldn’t be heard above the rain.
We put the meeting on hold and I stood at a window and watched the rain pour down; soaking the ground and filling the 10,000 liter tank at the side of the church. Listening to the sound made me think of a Bible verse that my mother would often quote in my childhood to excuse her off-key singing.
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. –Psalms 100,KJV
I have never in my life heard a more joyful noise. I found myself laughing and crying as I watched the rain pouring from the sky. Eventually, we continued our meeting and as we left for the day, the tank that had been empty in the morning was overflowing with clean water.
From the Field Notes of Amanda Mulder. Amanda joined 20 Liters as the Director of Outreach in January 2017. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” Amanda lives by these words and has yet to meet a project or supply closet she cannot organize. Amanda is driven by the belief that access to clean water isn’t a privilege, it is a basic human right. She lives in Grand Rapids, MI with her husband and young son.