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The Gift of Love Through Water in Chilowa

Bernadetta Jevrani has an eye for gardening. She doesn’t just grow vegetables; she makes her garden a work of art. With lush green vines growing on the thatch roof of her home and a plot thick with a variety of thriving plants, Bernadetta’s garden is like an oasis.

But it wasn’t always that way.
In the past, Bernadetta and her neighbors in the community of Chilowa, Malawi, relied on a traditional Afridev hand pump for their daily water needs. But when the pump began facing repeated breakdowns, it placed an unbearable financial burden on their small community of 275 people.

For two years after the pump was rendered inoperable, the people of Chilowa walked over a mile to a nearby river to collect water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. The journey was arduous and time-consuming, requiring the women to carry 40-pound buckets up a steep hill on the way home. During the rainy season when the river was full, the task became especially dangerous as they fought against overflowing riverbanks and swift currents.

The water they managed to collect was contaminated, leading to frequent outbreaks of cholera and other waterborne diseases. Education within the community also suffered because children spent so much time gathering water—sometimes as much as four hours per day—that they lacked the time and energy to devote to their studies.

Without reliable access to safe water, the people of Chilowa suffered. And Bernadetta’s garden oasis was just a dream.

But on December 7, 2022, everything changed for Chilowa.
Early in the day, the Design Outreach team arrived to install a LifePump, distribute Bibles in the native language of Chichewa, and share the hope of the Gospel.

As our team worked to install the pump, families gathered around the well, anxiously waiting for the first drop of clean water to flow. They danced and sang and praised God for the gift of water they can rely on.

“We are thanking God for you for bringing this clean water,” Bernadetta had said on installation day. “We are so happy, and every day, every month, and every year we will be so excited because of the clean water. Because we are going to drink clean water, the children will no longer miss school. We will always be happy since we will no longer have diseases. We will start planting trees and gardens and building brick houses.”

And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing.
Since the LifePump was installed, Bernadetta, a farmer and mother of four children, has been working hard to expand her garden for nutrition and extra income for her family. She and several other women have also started to plant trees—which they now have enough water to care for—to replenish the environment and reverse the effects of deforestation, which is a pervasive problem in developing communities.

In addition, families like Bernadetta’s now have enough water to bathe regularly and wash their clothes, and children now arrive at school on time and are better able to focus on their studies.

But the most striking effect of safe water is the improvement in the physical health of the community. Before LifePump,community members reported that the river water made some people so sick they would end up in the hospital two or three times in one week. “One of the biggest things that I’ve noticed is the reduction in the rate of cholera and diarrhea,” Bernadetta says. “These incidences have gone down drastically because of the introduction of the LifePump.”

As life in Chilowa continues to flourish with safe water from LifePump, Bernadetta’s dreams keep growing—just like her garden.

“My dreams are to build with mud bricks, to build a house, and (start) a tree nursery,” Bernadetta says. “My hope is that the community gets into the feel of replenishing the environment by planting trees and watering them. My hope is that my children are able to continue getting an education and that the clean water that we are getting is one of the factors that will help them get that education.”

For Bernadetta, her family, and her neighbors, LifePump has provided hope for a better, brighter future.

“We praise God for this gift, this gift of love through this water. God is great, and we always praise God.”

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