The Dangers of the River: a harsh reality
The diseases found in unclean, contaminated water kill 1.8 million children every year. Because of diseased water, up to 50% of all people in poverty stricken areas along Zambezi or other rivers, suffer severe health problems.
“When we go to draw water from Zambezi river, some times, the fishermen tell us that even though we draw water, there is a dead person nearby, so we would stop to draw water from there and go to the far east and draw water for our homes. Other times, the dead bodies come from the east and we in the west draw dirty water for our homes, not knowing that the crocodile killed a human being or a Dog. For in-stance, Mr. Peter Wachabilanganya went to bath in Zambezi river when they crocodile calculated and hid itself and caught him by the leg, dragged him into deep water, killed and ate him. When the men of the village heard about the incident, they rushed, took boats and searched for his body but only found his head. We buried his head while other women from the next village drew water for their homes. We drink dirty water.” —Mrs. Mildred Mushomeyo.
“We (women and young girls) are always at risk, mostly to the crocodiles as we go to draw water for our homes. Each time I go to the river to draw water I pray to the Lord for His protection. I do not know whether I will come back home or I will be killed by crocodiles or not. Fear grips me so and I have no choice as a woman but to just go and draw water under very difficult circumstances. When I get to the river, I look every where to make sure that the crocodiles are not near and then draw water and quickly go home. One time, I drew water from the river but as I went, a very big snake almost bite me but I poured water on it and it ran away. I thank God for his help to us in Lukulu West. Thank you (John Jere) very much for drilling a borehole for us, the crocodiles will not see us any more. You have rescued us, women and young girls” – Mrs Janet Lemba.
“July 2012: One day, I decided to do the washing of my clothes and for my twins at the Zambezi river. My twins aged 4 went with me. As usual, I do not take it for granted that the crocodiles are not there, so I looked every where to make sure that they were not nearby. I started washing clothes, not knowing that there was a crocodile which was making some moves and calculating how to kill my twins who were playing near the river. My friends, two ladies saw the crocodile swimming very fast, going to-wards my sons. They shouted and told me to quickly remove the children from where they were. I quickly came out of water, took my children and ran away, leaving the clothes in the water. Fear gripped me and I looked at my children, felt sorry for them because they would have been killed. Thank God for the borehole which a caring church has drilled for us. Women and all the young girls have been saved. I have seen the love of God through “Every Nation Church”. The love of God has been demonstrated to us, the Lukulu west people.” – Namasiku Kapala.
“In 2010, Mrs. Nyakatumbi and Mrs. Nyakamboi Mtonga who were married to one man, decided to go and draw water. They had a chat on the way to Zambezi river. When they reached the river, they looked every where and they were rest assured that they were no reptiles and yet one was hiding in the near grass, where they always draw water. As Nyakatumbi put her pitcher into the river, the crocodile swiftly came and caught her leg. She cried for help and her friend Nya-kamboi tried to pull her but instead the reptile over powered her and managed to pull them both into the river and killed them. The husband to those two women mourned his wives for two weeks. Thanks to God who has given us a borehole which means FREEDOM to all the women, young girls and even those who are yet to come. Thank you, John Jere for thinking about us” – Mrs. Ma-hongo. (John Jere said, “Give glory to God and not to me. God provided”.)
“2011: Mrs. Malikena Namunji went to the river, to draw water when she dipped her jar into the water, the crocodile caught her by the neck, dragged her into the deep waters, killed her. Men rushed to the river but could not find any thing. The following day, the fishermen found her head and reported to the nearby villages. The men went to pick up the head and buried it. She left two children and a husband” – Mrs. Mary Kabinda.
“Thank God for the borehole, for we are now liberated from the crocodiles. It is now our independence in Lukulu West, not from our colonial masters but from the reptiles which have terrorized women since this earth was created. She danced for joy and in appreciation to God. When we wake up, we always hear the same stories of some one killed by crocodiles have multiplied in Zambezi river. Crocodiles have more rights now than human beings. I am traumatized by these attacks and my body and blood moves due to excessive fear. Its like the reptile has already killed me. Thank God for the borehole. God has delivered us from sin and also from the jaws of crocodiles. Thank you, John Jere for being attentive to the call of the Lord, to bring such a gospel of Christ of impact to us. You are the first missionary to our land. May God richly bless and continue to use you for His Kingdom.” – Mrs. Namusunga.
A borehole offers relief in so many ways: it stops diseases, promotes healthy bodies, and provides the means for families to become self-sufficient by growing their own gardens and caring for their own animals. We have seen many people give their lives to God at the commissioning the boreholes.
A Before and After Story
The people worshiped ancestral spirits and idols. Any sickness, to them is a sign of a demon. The first night we arrived at Libeko village, we heard people played the drums. The following day, John Jere asked someone about the noise of the drums which were played the whole night. The village headman at Libeko answered and said that there was a sick person at the next village. To the local people, any sickness is a sigh of a demon, therefore the only way to cast it out is to make the sick person dance and pay homage to the ancestral spirits. Many children had beads around their waists and necks as a sign of total protection.
The people turned from ancestral worship to God, the creator of heaven and earth. They gladly received the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave their lives to God. Local people’s faith was diverted into believing in God who created all things and that He would protect their children from any danger, particularly from witchcraft and misfortunes.
“Thank you Lord, for Salvation through Jesus Christ who has redeemed me from sin and also from Crocodiles and water borne diseases. I am filled with joy. God has remembered us” -Mrs. Lucy Mulonga.
“Thank you for ministering the word of God to us. I have given my life to the Lord. I would like to walk with the Lord. Will you please help me. At least I can read Lozi but not English bible, do you have a Lozi Bible? Thank you for the borehole. We will drink fresh and clean water and you literally rescued many women and young girls from the jaws of crocodiles.” – Pelekelo Monde
This is the water generations after generations drank. This water came from the well which the local people dug. As you can see, it is dirty and smelling. Many people suffered from stomach problems, bilharzias and other water borne diseases etc during flood periods like in December, crocodiles would go and hid there, waiting for someone to draw water from the well and then it would come and kill the person. So far, six women have been killed. Water borne diseases have killed many children in Lukulu west. All mothers are thankful to God and to all those who contributed to this project.
Fresh and clean water from the borehole we drilled is shown above compared to the old dirty water. Now people will not suffer from water borne diseases. The people are now free from crocodiles which took advantage of the women and young girls need, who went to draw water from the river. Only fisher men are now vulnerable to crocodiles, and the distance to reach water has been reduced.
“Its like a dream: our great grandparents lived here and drank dirty water until they died. It has never happened in the history of this nation. Governments have come and gone but never helped us with clean water but God has remembered us. We are privileged by the grace of God, who chose this village to be a partaker of His blessing (borehole). I am crying and at the same time, I am full of tears of joy for what God has done for us. The women in all these villages and our daughters are now saved from the crocodiles which have killed many women and young girls as they drew water from Zambezi River. Our villages have lived in fears of crocodiles for many years but now we are finally free. I will not fear for the lives of my daughters and my wife because women will be able to draw water nearby. I am thankful to God for bringing you here, to drill the borehole and to preach the word of God. May God richly bless you as you continue in the good work of the Lord.” – Pastor Clever Mayungo of Africa Methodist Church.
“Thank you very much for giving us clean water and may God continue to us you to preach the gospel of Christ. You have touchéd us and now we have seen and known the love of God, through you.” – Morgan Nyambe (Libeko Village headman)
“I am very happy and so are all the people here. Our daughters and wives are now safe and we will not worry any more about crocodiles. We have believed in the God you preached to us and we want to continue in the same faith.” – Simaloya Namakando.
“Our fellow women have been killed because of the same commodity, water but we have been saved by the grace of God and spared from crocodiles. I am thankful to God and to you all who have made this a reality to us.” -Namushi Namakando.
“Thank you for your help to our people who drank dirty water but now God has given them clean water through you. You are the David Livingstone of our time.” – Hon Michael Mitelu (MP), for Lukulu West.
“Thanks be to God and the glory for He is a good God who remembers His creation like us by bringing clean water for us at such a time as this. There many crocodiles in Lukulu West and some times they even walk around in the bush. Other times, we found 200 eggs of one crocodile and we destroyed them all. We do not know where the owner went. These reptiles have multiplied and they are a danger to the population, particularly to the women folks.” – Mayungo Namusungo.
“Thank you Bishop John Jere and your team for helping our people to access clean water. This is the first time we have heard a Zambian church, coming to help the needy in Lukulu West. Just to drive through this bad road, it is a a great sacrifice and shows a good heart for God and for the people you serve. Many Bishops can not come here and serve the poor people in Lukulu because there is nothing that they will receive in form of tithe or an offering.” – Lukulu District Commissioner, David Mundrinda (Office of the President)
“I am thankful to God and to you for all the help you give me. If it were not God helping me, I would have been dead. God uses you, to take care of me. I struggled to get water from far away but now, you have drilled a borehole at Every Nation Church plot. I am now 92 years old and have no much strength and all my children died of HIV/AIDS and have no one else to help me but God through you. Thank you very much and may God richly bless you.” – Nalishebo Namakando.