How far would you go to find the perfect gift? It’s conventional to imagine searching in a local mall or market. Others prefer shopping online to avoid the holiday crowds. What if the perfect gift can instead be found thousands of miles away in an African community?
The village of Adigogon is located on an isolated winding road built into the beautiful hills of northern Ethiopia. It’s composed of 68 households, which may seem small, but the people who fill them are mighty. They pride themselves on their deep passion for community and great skill in agriculture, and it is clear upon spending a short time in the remote region that joy overshadows their current circumstances.
Three months out of the year, an irrigation ditch in Adigogon has water. The water was never intended to be used for human consumption because it is contaminated by the livestock and is sourced by an unclean origin. However, it is a 15-minute walk from the village, making it the closest accessible source of drinking water.
When the irrigation ditch dries up or is diverted by other communities living upstream, the only other option for the rest of the year is a 7-hour round-trip walk to yet another unclean source. Because of the great distance, a family in Adigogon has less than five gallons of water to use per day. This means that drinking and cooking take priority, and important hygienic practices are sacrificed for survival. When asked about the negative effects of the continued use of the dirty water, village members smile politely and honestly respond, “What other options do we have?”
During the holiday season, it’s easy to overlook all of the options that are available to us. We are surrounded by opportunities to decorate our homes, bake festive desserts, and find the perfect Christmas gift online or in stores for that one person who seems to have everything. However, in James 1:17, we are told that, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Perhaps it’s time we shift our perspective.
Adigogon will be the first of many villages to have a water point implemented in its community by one of our local grassroots partners in Ethiopia. No longer will individuals have to walk miles to gather water from a contaminated source for their family’s survival. This will only add to this mighty community’s unfailing faith, joy that overcomes, and spirit of hope that cannot be broken.
Last Christmas, Blood:Water shared that for just $40, you can give the gift of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. That hasn’t changed! Forty is still everything for one person in Africa living without access to clean water. This year, honor someone you know by giving a gift that matters—one that is truly good and from above.