Safe Water Brings Freedom in Kagogo

March 11, 2024

Posted by Dave, Executive Director

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Sylvia and Aphrodis

In the heart of Rwanda’s Kagogo sector, in the village of Nyamabuye, lives Sylvia, a resilient 44-year-old mother of three, and her husband Aphrodis. The two lead a life intertwined with and dependent on the land and its creator. Their participation in the Catholic Church in Nyarubuye has been a constant, a spiritual anchor in the midst of all of life’s challenges.

For years, Sylvia and Aphrodis’ lives revolved around the shimmering expanse of Lake Burera, a seemingly bountiful source of water that held both sustenance and hidden perils. Despite the dangers that lurked beneath its surface, the couple, like many in their community, relied on the lake for their daily water needs. Boiling the water had been a trusted practice, ensuring a measure of safety for their family.

An All Too Common Story

As time wore on, however, economic strains began to cast a shadow over this tested routine. Charcoal and firewood, essential for boiling water, became increasingly costly. Faced with this dilemma, Sylvia and Aphrodis made a conscious decision. These precious resources would be reserved for cooking alone. Now they had no other choice than to consume the lake water without boiling. Sylvia rationalizes, “I could see that other people from my village were drinking it. So were my children; especially when playing with others by the lakeside. I told myself that maybe we will be fine if we drink it raw. Our bodies will get used to it.”

However, this seemingly innocuous decision took a toll on their health. Their children started getting sick and with each bout of diarrhea, Sylvia suspected poisoning, not realizing that they were falling prey to waterborne diseases. It wasn’t until a community meeting on hygiene and sanitation hosted by World Relief staff that Sylvia had an awakening. The revelation struck her: the very water they had been consuming directly from the lake, a water source shared with livestock, was unsafe for her and her children.

Knowledge, Community, and 20 Liters

Her attendance at the meeting proved to be a lifeline. Volunteers, equipped with knowledge from World Relief on hygiene and sanitation, discussed the transformative power of water filters. Sylvia, with gratitude in her heart, approached her church. By divine providence, she found herself on the list of beneficiaries for an upcoming distribution of 20 Liters provided water filters.

Once the water filter was installed in her home, Sylvia’s life took a turn for the better. Sylvia’s family found relief from the constant bouts of diarrhea and illnesses. Her gratitude overflows as she exclaims, “I went to the meeting because it was a necessity. But this meeting saved my life.”

A Beacon of Hope for the Community

Now, Sylvia’s home serves as a beacon of hope for the community. The once precarious access to safe drinking water has become a reality for her and her neighbors. Sharing water from the filter has become an act of communal bonding, a gesture that transcends the boundaries of mere survival.

In the soft glow of Nyarubuye Village, Sylvia and Aphrodis are no longer prisoners to the fear of contaminated water. Their days are marked by health and gratitude. Now they extend a warm welcome to their neighbors, offering a them a cup of clean water. Sylvia’s heart is filled with appreciation for World Relief Rwanda and 20 Liters. Through their story, the ripples of positive change continue to spread. A once perilous journey to the lake becomes a testament of resilience, community, and the transformative power of safe water.


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