At 16 years old, Mercy is all too familiar with the problems caused by dirty water. Sometimes, she feels like her entire day is ruled by the search for water. Thankfully, the Childcare Worldwide Gift Catalog is here to help kids like Mercy, with gifts that transform lives.
Every day, Mercy walked about 40 minutes to the nearest water source – a muddy river bank on the side of the local highway.
The first challenge she faced was the sheer number of people also using this same water. There are families doing laundry, people washing their cars, and farmers irrigating their crops, not to mention kids like Mercy fetching drinking water for their families.
With all those people, the water never runs clear. And since it’s right next to a busy road, the added dust and fumes from passing vehicles doesn’t help.
Mercy and her family had no choice but to drink this dirty, dusty water. In her short 16 years on this earth, she’s already lost track of how many times she’s had to visit the health clinic with various pains and diseases from drinking dirty water.
As Mercy started to get a little older, her walk to fetch water became even more dangerous. The busy area around the river is also frequented by prostitutes. Even though she’s just 16, Mercy has already been mistaken for a prostitute by men loitering on the street. She’s been teased and catcalled, and is constantly terrified of what might happen if one of those men became more aggressive.
The walk back was even worse. Her full jerrycan weighed almost 45 pounds! She couldn’t move as quickly carrying that much weight, but still had to pass by the same men on the way home.
Altogether, Mercy spends at least an hour and half of each day fetching dirty water, and walking in fear for her safety. During the dry season, she’ll make that trek two or even three times, to help keep their crops alive as well as fetch enough water for the family.
That’s why clean water gifts like those in our Gift Catalog are so important!
When we gave Mercy a clean water filter to use at home and built a water tank at the church near her house, she couldn’t believe her good fortune!
Now, instead of walking in fear through the crowded streets, she simply visits the church every day. It is such a relief to not have to watch her back with every step!
The water from the tank is already significantly cleaner than the river water, but with her own filter Mercy can be sure her water is now safe to drink. She couldn’t believe how easy the filter is to use! She is so happy to put all those visits to the health clinic behind her.