I'm in New Orleans with a group of 16 youth & adults from Windsor Heights Lutheran Church; the congregation I serve in Des Moines, IA. I invited our group participants the change to offer their reflections throughout the week on koinonia.
Water, created by God, is essential to our existence on this earth. Water can save lives, water can take lives.
For the Practice Peacemaking Day I learned about carrying water. Most of us walk into a kitchen or bathroom, turn the faucet on and KNOW that hot or cold water will gush our. As much as we want, whenever we want.
My task was to carry a 5 gallon jug of water one-tenth of a mile. At points along the way, poster told four different stories about the paths people take to get water. My storyline followed a mother who had to make a choice each day, go for the water herself or send her daughter.
If the mother went, that meant she had fewer hours in the day to work at her many family duties. If the daughter went, she would miss school that day. What a choice!
About halfway around the course a volunteer placed a round red sticker on my arm. “That’s a mosquito bite,” she said. “At the end of the course, you will need to be checked to see if you have malaria.” This was a way to introduce people to the ELCA Malaria Campaign, which, by the way, we have already begun at WHLC.
At the 3/4 mark, we had to climb some stairs with the water jug to simulate uneven terrain. Then rounding the corner toward home, the sign informed me that I had fallen and now should drag my foot to indicate a leg injury.
With a few last steps, I completed the journey. The final sign informed me that a typical trip to get water would be 2 miles or more, 20 times my tiny trip. Oh, and I forgot to tell you that the 5 gallon jug weighed 41 pounds. Ouch, it was very hard to carry.
As part of our offering, this Youth Gathering Group gave $250.00 to the 100 Wells Project. The totals from each Synod are being tracked all week. I’m excited to hear how much will be raised.
The power of water is still being demonstrated here in New Orleans today. Our service project was delayed for 3 hours due to torrential rain and street flooding. Our group was wishing we could sent this storm to Iowa, and the group we worked with today from Ohio, had the same thought for their parched state. I wonder how the power of water will change people’s lives tomorrow? I pray that we can make our goal of 100 Wells and start to raise funds for the next 100.