Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles

The Anole Women's Self Help Group
Meeting in Kariobangi/Haruma, Nairobi

Lack of access to clean drinking water is a major problem in Kenya where 3,100 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Seventeen million Kenyans do not have access to safe water. The current drought is only making matters worse. The struggle for water is a major obstacle to life and wellness.

For the women of the Kariobangi and Haruma slums, in the Eastlands region of Nairobi, finding water is a daily challenge. 
"There is no water where my family lives," shared group member Chukulisi. "At night there is a pipe where water will come in for a few hours. At around two in the morning, I walk to the pipe to fill containers with other mothers and then carry the water home."
Community water spigots, like the one Chukulisi accesses, are commonly crowded and insecure. Women face great vulnerability walking at night through the slum. Moreover, the water they carry home is also unsafe as it is often contaminated by ground water and open sewage that enters the pipes. In many instances, these pipes are susceptible to ground water contamination after having been damaged by people who have scabbed onto the system to access free water. 

Boiling or treating the dirty water are both expensive and time-consuming. As a result, many families in this community drink unclean water that leads to stomach infections and diarrhea. 

Self help groups are mobilizing women to gather water together safely and through the help of Canadian Baptist churches, women are receiving water filter systems that they are using in their homes to ensure that their families are drinking safe water.

On Tuesday of this week, we brought our executive director, Terry Smith, with us to Eastlands, where he participate in a water filter distribution for six members of the Anole SHG group.

It was encouraging to hear how these women are supporting one another and to see God's love and joy so evident among them. 

Community facilitator Patrick demonstrating 
how to assemble and care for a ceramic water filter

We are so thankful for the many churches and individuals that are supporting this project and for your interest and faithful prayers. As groups like the Anole SHG come to understand and adopt strategies for improving the drinking water for their children, we believe that the no child in Kenya will needlessly die anymore of preventable waterborne diseases. 

Erica and Terry Smith at the Sisal Basket 

Before leaving Eastlands, we also brought Terry to see a basket enterprise that is working with women's groups from the Ukambani region of Kenya where CBM works with the Guardians of Hope HIV/AIDS ministry. Each hand woven basket is an important income for the women of these rural communities that are turning the fibers of the local sisal cactus into works of art.

African Christian Church and Schools Moderator
Rt. Rev. Jeremiah Ndumo with Terry in Ruiru

"A True friend accepts you for who you are, 
but also helps you to become who you should be."

Our partnership meetings have also gone very well this week as we prepare to celebrate some significant milestones with the ACC&S and the ABC. We are so thankful for the opportunity to have Terry with us as we affirm the great legacy of shared ministry with our historic Kenyan partners.

To learn more about the work of Canadian Baptist Ministries in Africa and around the world, please see our website at

Africa Brotherhood Church Archbishop 
Rev. Dr. Timothy Ndambuki with Terry in Machakos

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