And where surface water is scarce, such as in these desert areas, people can’t survive and thrive without groundwater. “Women have to walk many kilometers fetching water or they have to dig underground searching for water,” he continued, “Sometimes it can take 5 hours (walking or digging) just to try and fill a 20 liter jug.”
A little girl bends down to scoop the last bit of water into her cup from a hole dug in the ground. With the shallow, handmade well now dry, her tribe must decide to try to either dig deeper for possible groundwater or hope for rain.
While it is hard for many to imagine, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who can’t just turn on the faucet to get a drink.
Ernest Smith, Pastor at Front Range Christian Church in Castle Rock has traveled to the arid region of northeastern Kenya and witnessed it with his own eyes. “I have seen people literally get down on their knees and start digging with their hands in hopes that they find water,” Smith said.
Wanting to not only give them access to clean water, he also wanted to give hope to the people inhabiting northeastern Kenya. With the tools he had and the connections made during previous mission trips, Smith set out to form a non-profit that could provide assistance.
The plan for the organization evolved over 10 years ago, after Smith met Joel Maragwa in Kenya. At that time, Smith crossed paths with Maragwa, National Director of YWAM (Youth With A Mission), Kenya, during one of his mission trips to Africa.
Becoming fast friends, they quickly realized it made sense to partner to pursue the same goal of caring for the people of Turkana; a tribe of Nilotic people who, for many years, has lived in very poor living conditions in Kenya.
With that goal in mind, five years later they formed Bread of Life Missions, a 501c3 non-profit. Soon they began orchestrating group trips to Kenya to help the tribe attain necessities to live, along with introducing them to the idea of God.
Emily Kloter, who with her husband Steve, has traveled with the BOL group to Kenya to help with their efforts. “My entire perspective on life was altered the first trip we took to Namraiat, Turkana,” she recalled. “The people had nothing- men, women and children were dying from dehydration.”
However, this summer, in July, the mission group has plans to change that. They are organizing a trip to Africa to begin surveying the land for a site for a possible well.
In order to raise awareness about the project, this month, BOL Co-President, Maregwa, made a special trip to visit Castle Rock and share his experience working with the mission over the years. Similarly, he wanted to come and personally talk about their future plans to improve the quality of life for the Turkana people.
Addressing a small crowd, Maregwa said, “We work in places where there are no other missionaries working- with people who have never seen a school, who have never seen a medical facility.” Likewise, these are inhabited areas without a reliable supply of water for home uses, irrigation, and livestock.
But he is hopeful that donors and divine intervention will make this important project possible. “Though it is very difficult and very challenging, but it is a great opportunity that God has given us to help these people,” Maregwa stated. “I believe that my visit is so important because our brothers and sisters in Castle Rock can partner with us and make a big difference in the lives of others.”
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