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Clean Water
for Liberia

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Jonathan Kaipay survived civil war in Liberia and now is dedicated to helping others live. He’s part of an effort to bring clean water to the 60% of the population who have no access. Ciona Rouse reports.

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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Rural Liberia)

Mothers across Africa have a simple wish for their children … clean water. But here, that’s not simple.

Two decades of civil war devastated Liberia’s infrastructure. For most of the country’s 3 1/2 million residents, clean water is scarce.

Jonathan Kaipay: “I think about 60 percent of the inhabitants of Liberia still do not have access to good water and sanitation.”

Jonathan Kaipay works for The United Methodist Church in Liberia. He digs wells in rural communities through the Liberia-Norway Partnership.

Voice of Jonathan Kaipay: “The issue of water and sanitation is a major problem in Liberia. Villagers are exposed to drinking from the streams. This lead to waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhea.”

This small, shallow stream was the only source for an entire village to wash their clothes, water animals, and collect drinking water. Villagers didn’t know it, but for weeks a dead body floated in the water just a mile away.

Jonathan Kaipay: “After the community made a request, we came and dug this well. So this is the kind of work we are doing in the community, trying to build hope and restore some life back to our people.”

Local man: “Before the hand pump, when we were drinking from the stream, there were a lot of cases of cholera and diarrhea, especially among children.”

Jonathan Kaipay: “Once you give water to a community, the testimonies are there. The witnesses are there, that indeed, you are helping them to protect and preserve their lives. So, I think water actually is life.”

Kaipay says his survival instinct during years of war has turned into a passion for helping Liberia rebuild.

Jonathan Kaipay: “By God’s grace, I was spared from many thousands that died. And we have a charge. That charge is to develop this country and to provide a safe environment for the generation to come.”

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This video is adapted from a documentary for the group called “Pray with Africa” which collects prayer requests from people all over the world. Many of the prayer requests from Africa are mothers asking for clean water for their children. To read actual prayer requests and to learn more about ways you can help, visit the website.

Posted: May 19, 2010