Our World

December 4, 2019

Posted by Mel Zwyghuizen, Clean Water Advocate

August 2019, Rwanda

 

Volunteer preparing SAM3 Filters for distributionMiles away from the world I know, we drive a few hours from the capital of Kigali to the Rilima sector of Rwanda.

A school.  26 filters.  26 families.  They have undergone training and receive a filter for their homes.  Clean water.  Something I have and take for granted every. single. day.

 

Rain Water Harvest System tank on the side of a church in RwandaWe continue driving to the Gashora sector.

A church.  A rain water harvesting system.  Clean water.  Something I have and take for granted every. single. day.

 

 

Green Trees looking at Lake Kivu and hills in the distance of Rwanda

We journey to Nyamasheke.  A long and arduous journey even in our vehicle.

The shores of Lake Kivu.   Challenges in accessing that body of water from the mountain village we visit.  Clear water vs. clean water.  Something I have and take for granted every. single. day.

 

Chip and local technician checking a SAM2 Community Filter

We visit a school.

A staff room holds the large filter system for the school’s staff and children. Clean water. Something I have and take for granted every. single. day.

 

You get the idea.  But if I stayed in “that place”…the place of seeing what I have vs. what they don’t…I would have perhaps stayed distant in some respects.  Thinking of “my world” vs. “their world”.  But as I looked deeper, I felt instead a connection to my fellow humans with whom I share this world…

“OUR world.”

 

Line of Women Carrying SAM3 Household FiltersMiles away from the world I know, we drive a few hours from the capital of Kigali to the Rilima sector of Rwanda.

A school.  The sights and sounds of children running, playing and laughing.  Families proudly and joyfully carrying the bucket filters on their heads back to their homes and families. Families that want the best possible life for their children and their neighbors as much as I want for my family and neighbors.

Mel, Greta, and Volunteer from RwandaWe continue driving to the Gashora sector.

A mom.  A mom of three children just like me.  We take a photo together along with one of my “babies” who traveled with us. A mom who desires the best for her children just like me.

 

 

Mel and a Rwandan MotherWe journey to Nyamasheke.  A long and arduous journey even in our vehicle.

A village full of people of all ages.  A group of women gathered by a tree talking and laughing. Friends sharing life.  People busying themselves with the day’s tasks.  Working as I work. A woman enters the building in which we have gathered along with many others.

A woman dressed in a beautiful green dress and head wrap.  We catch each others’ eye and smiles break across both our faces.  We gather after the meeting and take some photos.  Despite the language barrier she teaches me the motion for “welcome” and as we gesture and say the word in both languages, we are connected.  I don’t mean to say that I understand what it is like to live her life, anymore than she could imagine what it is to live mine.  But we are connected…women.  Women who want the best possible life for those we love.  Women who find joy in life and smile broadly when we do.

Mel and Greta with students in RwandaWe visit a school.

A staff room with a master schedule on its blackboard.  A teacher named Eric.  He teaches English.  I teach Spanish.  Both of us foreign language teachers.  A teacher who desires to teach his students more than just a subject.  A teacher who cares for his students and wants them to have the best possible life just as I want the best for my students. As we leave the staff room we are surrounded by his students who have learned that visitors are present.  In this remote area, visitors are few.  Eric has them show off their English by singing a song to us that they have learned. We all laugh and enjoy this moment.  I think of my students sharing their knowledge to a native speaker and their joy in knowing they can communicate in another language.

I can only express the connectedness that I felt in all these moments by thinking on this verse from Romans 12.  “In the same way, even though we are many individuals, Christ makes us one body and individuals who are connected to each other.” (Romans 12:5 God’s Word translation)

And each of us, as those different parts of the body, coming together to live the best possible life is what 20 Liters’ mission is all about.  Working together.  Collectively using our resources.  Collectively problem-solving.  Our Rwandan brothers and sisters and us in OUR world connected together.

 

From the Field Notes of Mel Zwyghuizen. Melanie and her family (husband Ed and now grown children Gabe, Christian, and Greta) have been clean water advocates for over 12 years.  Their journey started when her daughter Greta led the charge when, at 7 years old, she learned that many young girls walk daily for water that often makes them sick. Melanie is an educator at heart and teaches not only Spanish to her high school students, but also courses on Intentional Parenting.  Additionally, she has written curriculum for the annual Walk for Water events to help parents lead their families into a deeper understanding of the water crisis.  Find out more about these courses/curriculum at team-z.net.

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