Have you ever had the thought, “I wonder where my tithe goes?” or “What does the StoneWorks committee do?” Well, let me give you one amazing example!
Back in the spring, Roland’s Aunt Karen (who runs the non-profit Amistad International) and I were brainstorming. How can Stone Church, and in particular, StoneWorks, be utilized to help solve a global issue that faces people on an international level?
In May of this year, StoneWorks approved a proposal that I felt did just that. In conjunction with Amistad International, StoneWorks donated $1,200 to Community Initiative for Rural Development (CIFORD) to buy four 3,000 liter water tanks for four female farmers in Africa. The transactions and project went very smoothly.
These women will now be able to harvest the rainwater that was falling from their homes’ tin roofs (and otherwise lost into the ground). When the rains return, the farmers will be able to collect water for their gardens, bathing, cooking and drinking.
Margaret Ikiara, founder and director of CIFORD, has written the following about each of the farmers. Margaret has asked Karen at Amistad to please send her deepest gratitude to the Stone Church of Willow Glen, California.
Farmer Sisina Njubuku and her husband had long been wishing for a water tank to collect the clean fresh rainwater pouring off their roof during the rainy season.
Sisina and her five children had been spending a great deal of time walking to the river to bring water back to their home. Sisina’s husband, a low-wage earning day laborer, dreamed of buying the tank for his family. But the $300 cost of the tank was nearly a year’s income – therefore an impossible purchase.
When their Stone Church-provided tank was delivered, they were overjoyed. When the tank arrived, the joy also radiated from the face of Sisina’s elderly mother-in-law, who lives with them.
“Oh, I am the happiest! Now I can cook and do chores when the others are out working. I am no longer able go to the river to fetch water, but now we will have water at home.”
Sisina says, “Now my children can study more, as they won’t be spending as much time collecting water from the river. Thank you to our friends in America.”
Farmer, and mother of five schoolchildren, Tabitha Karithia told Margaret that even her marriage has improved because of the gift of the water tank.
Her husband says his wife has made him a very proud man in the community.
Interestingly, the ownership of a water tank is not only a matter of food, health and sanitation, but owing a tank is also a source of prestige. Tabitha’s husband told the chairwoman of her CIFORD Co-Op Women Farmer Support group that in case Tabitha is not available to go to a meeting, he is so pleased with having a tank that he himself will be willing to go to the meeting in her place.
“I tell others that no husband should stop his wife from attending the CIFORD women farmer meetings because these groups help families become prosperous. We will now have water to grow vegetables, and we will be able to sell our surplus crops!”
Gladys Naita is a farmer who lives in Luuma village. She is a mother of six and had recently given birth to a new baby when the tank arrived. She had not been able to go to the river five km away to get water, so she was very happy to receive the tank. Gladys told us the water from the river is contaminated from the animals, which also drink from the waters. She will now be able to grow more food during the dry season. Gladys was quick to say that if women farmers all had water-collecting tanks, they could change their communities by having enough food for their families.
Esther Mwathwana lives with her four children and two grandchildren. She is a peasant farmer who depends on the rain to feed her gardens. Esther says that with the tank the family can now access clean water, and it will also reduce waterborne diseases. She intends to do kitchen gardening to provide her family with nutritious food. She will sell the surplus to the neighbors. “The tank is a God-given gift to my family as we have suffered a lot due to disease-related water from the river. Thank you to those who helped us.”