Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Clean Water, A Village at a Time

I often feel the problems of the world are overwhelming: poverty, pollution, war, injustice, homelessness. The root cause is deep and complex; there are no simple answers.

And then comes a priest, a Benedictine no less, Fr. Pirmin Ngolle, from St. Pius X Church in Klamath Falls, Oregon. He has been sent by his abbot from St. Maurus Hanga Abbey in Southern Tanzania, East Africa, to raise money for a simple project: to bring clean water to the villages. According to Fr. Ngolle, 35-40% of the local youth die by age 12 because of poor water and sanitation.

This is not a huge government project. The total cost is expected to be $500,000.

The idea hit home with me, hard. We take clean water so much for granted. We drink it, wash in it, irrigate with it. We even use clean, potable water to dispose of our waste. Access to potable water and proper sanitation is probably the most basic way to prevent disease and ensure a healthy population. And a healthy population is attentive, to intellectual and spiritual education, and productive.

The project is simple in concept and scope. It is the most basic of corporal works of mercy.

So I donated. And I'll probably donate more.

Their website has more information: www.hangaabbey.org.

A parishioner in Oregon has issued a challenge to match every $500.00 raised. A shipping company has provided discounted rates. (Shipping to Tanzania is not cheap.) The villagers are providing the labor.

In the midst of the complexities of Islam versus the West, of Right Wing Nuts and Left Wing Moonbats, this project simply is. All villagers will benefit. And I can help.