Rafael Village, Malawi is a rural village in Thyolo District, southern Malawi. The people have been practicing Farming God’s Way here, an effective no till farming method which incorporates biblical discipleship to equip the people who practice FGW and learn to grow more crops to feed their families and to sell. The discipleship groups are called God’s Love Groups GLGs). Our ministry partners have been
working very faithfully here with the people and small teams of the GLGs.
This village like so many others where they are working have discovered their most urgent physical need is for access to clean water. Their current water source are small hand dug wells. The water is commonly a milky color as the source is the nearby dambos, swampy areas with lots of wet soil. It takes patience to draw water as it must be drawn out carefully so as to disturb the water as little as possible. Still, after allowing the collected water to settle, the water does not become clear.
The water is contaminated. There is no hospital nearby. Rain season is bad, as the shallow wells flood and contamination increase, but dry season is equally bad, as it is more difficult and time-consuming to draw water.
Sickness from drinking this water is common, cholera, bilharzia (schistosomiasis), dysentery and various skin diseases are all common.
Women slowly gather the milky water
There is a hand dug well 1-3 km from home. It takes hours to get there, then a very long time to fill their containers, as they fill carefully, and then hours again to go back home. There is no clean water source in the surrounding area.
Currently, Malawi is experiencing a serious and deadly cholera outbreak in the nation, one of the worst in its history. In the past year over 50K reported cases and 1500 deaths were reported. The Republic of Malawi Ministry of Health provides a daily update for reported cholera cases. The dates we checked in recent times showed an average of 400 cases reported each day, an average of 740 people in the hospital, and a 3.16% death rate of reported cases. Yet this disease can be avoided and stopped by providing access to safe, clean water.
The total cost of this well is $3,500 for materials and labor. If funds are received by June 2023, we expect completion by July 2023.
Following are testimonies from some of the Rafael villagers.
I am Rose, coming from this area. I am the chairman of the FGW group. There are many problems we are [having] in this place, relating to water we are drinking, waters from this place. As you can see, it has caused us so many problems in life. We normally, usually suffer from different diseases from using this water. Like opening bowels, dysentery, and various skin diseases. As you can see the waters are milky and dark. We humbly request you, if possible, help us with a borehole.
I am Chanjaley. I am representing this area. I am one of the members of FGW. I testify with what the chairlady has talked about. The diseases she mentioned, I am one of the victims. I suffered from cholera. I’d been suffering until I went to the hospital. I have just been called to come here but am not well wholly. We request, if possible, to please help us with a borehole. We are in very big trouble drinking the
waters you have seen. According to what I have seen, many people from this area have gone to the grave with disease. For me to be here is a total grace. Please help us. Thank you very much.
I am here to testify of what my grandchildren have said. For us to have water we walk very long distances. When the grandchildren go to school then I strain the whole day without water. When I try to take a dish (the water container) on my head always I fall down because of weakness of my body and the long distances. From this day you hear our voice please help us. Thank you very much.
Our ministry partner, Charles Mithowa, is the main director for these well projects and has completed many. These are very reliable partners and we have had excellent success in our relationship with them to date. Heaven’s Family sister ministry, Farming God’s Way, has been working with Charles for some years now. The farming program is changing lives of poor farmers by helping them raise more food and teaching discipleship. The government of Malawi has recognized the success of our Farming God’s Way program with these partners.
We do not do projects unless we have formed an ongoing partnership with any ministry partner who is involved in any Safe Water Ministry project, with a good track record of accountability. We require ‘before’ marker photos where the well will be drilled. We collect pertinent details that describe the need, collect completion photos, reports and testimonies. The driller will be the same as long as they keep doing good work. They have been very accommodating.
We desire to protect the on-going success of the well once it’s complete. As a part of our process, we require all of our ministry partners to agree to prepare for and manage any future maintenance on the well. The receiving partner ministry may take on the responsibility and/or they may create a water commission, have community meetings, and have the community agree to contribute in some way, according to ability. It is very important that the local people know that this is ‘their’ well. When they know they have ownership they will work to take care of it best they can. The whole community agrees how best to manage the water asset. Often times very small fees are charged for the future management of the well. The process varies from place to place.
Here with this particular ministry, ‘God’s Love Groups’, discipleship groups in place for our Farming God’s Way ministry, will direct some of the management. The beneficiaries will contribute a small amount to pay for maintenance. Both the GLG teams and community authorities shall manage the property for permanent use for the community.
Rafael Village is in urgent need of clean water. The benefits are many. The people will have clean water to drink, water to bathe with and cook with. The kids can go to school instead of spending so much time collecting water. The little money they earn that must be spent on medicine and hospital trips would be saved. The old and infirm would be able to get water and not suffer trying to go far for water. Their health would improve immediately. The people would see how the Lord does care for them through such a transformative gift. The FGW presence will be strengthened, and more people will become involved in meaningful disciple-making groups.
Farming God’s Way is an important ministry here. And here, like in other villages where Farming God’s Way ministry is implemented, positive changes can be seen in the community. This village has many families that are practicing the no till farming method to be able to grow more food, and incorporates discipleship groups. These are called God’s Love Groups, discipleship groups which focus on biblical teaching, regular meetings to disciple and work together. Previous community situation was that the people really only worked for themselves, just totally scraping by. But [now they are] experiencing successful results of greater food yield, with discipleship to bring people closer to the Lord, and know the Lord has helped them to be able to feed themselves and sell some and help others. They now share their excess with the elderly and destitute. Greater dignity and purpose are other benefits for these very poor people whom the government has forgotten.
All projects are made possible by World Changers.