Namikango Mission

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We Need Water!

Nov 23, 2018

I was recently privileged to accompany the Namikango Bible team on one of the Camp Meetings they hosted in Western Malawi. These Camp Meetings are local events that bring together the churches from the area for a weekend of Bible teachings and reflections. Beginning on Friday, the team taught lessons on our theme for the year, “Loving God by Loving your Neighbor.” The studies ranged from stories and parables about loving your neighbor, to the teachings of Jesus, Paul, and John exhorting the church to love your neighbor fully. As John says, "You cannot hope to love God, if you cannot even love your neighbor." (1 John 4)

While the Camp Meeting was great, another powerful challenge was presented to us . . . These people need water! We met in the hot, desert-like Western part of Malawi. The ground was sandy and the prevailing plant life consisted of dried-out thorn bushes. Temperatures soared during the day, and the village where we stayed did not have a water well. The women of the congregation made multiple trips every day to the nearest water supply, a roundtrip distance of 3 miles. Lines of women carrying buckets of water on their heads were a common sight while we taught throughout the day. Saturday was especially hot, and we went through the water on hand so quickly that we had to stop the meeting to get more water.

What was incredibly striking to me was the engendered roles of work by men and women. Drawing water is specifically a woman’s job. So, Saturday afternoon when the teachings paused, all the women gathered their buckets, traveled the 3-mile distance in the blazing mid-afternoon sun, and returned to fill the water reserves. These women, undaunted by the amount of physical work they just accomplished, sat back down on the ground and listened and participated in the next lesson. What an incredible testament to the strength of Malawian women, and to the continued gender inequality that women here face every day.

While I feel very happy that I was able to participate in this experience, it was a good reminder of just how much work is left to be done here in Malawi, to help secure water and to seek to empower women and strengthen churches, all for the glory of God.

By Eric Gephart