Greg King

Five Stones

Gallons of Waste

I’ve officially been back from Africa for one week and I am continually struck by the stark difference between the world I live in and the world I just left. In the book of James the author gives a challenge to those who are rich. I have to be honest that I never associated myself as the one being addressed in this passage. Let me be honest my 401K is nothing to brag about and in the States I would never be considered one of the rich. However God shook up my world to show me that in the world’s eyes and in His eyes I am rich.

I thought about this the other night, as I once again left the water running while I was brushing my teeth. The fact that having clean water is not an issue for our family is one of the key evidences that I am rich.  The most important physical need in the lives of most people in Africa is clean water. Here are some things that you may not know about the issues of water in Africa:

Water-related diseases is the single largest killer of infants in developing countries.

1.8 million children die each year from diarrhea, which is 4,900 per day

The average American uses 150 gallons of water each day to cook, clean and drink. The average African person struggles to find 5 gallons of water each day.

Only 61% of Kenya’s population has access to an improved drinking water source

On average, women in rural Africa spend 26% of their time each day collecting water, often walking more than five miles each way to the nearest water source, which prevents many of them from working or attending school and puts them at greater risk for sexual harassment and assault

When you would talk to people you realized that the thought of getting water was always on their mind. Notice that I said water and not clean water. The water that most people labored to retrieve reminded me of what the tea looks like from Chick-Fil-A. How could you possibly be motivated to think or do anything else without water? The distance and risk that ladies go to secure dirty water is baffling. In one village the doctors told the mothers with HIV that it would be safer for them to breast feed their babies than to risk giving their babies water. Just let that thought sink in for a moment. A doctor tells you that you have a choice to let your baby die of AIDS or die due to diseases from unclean water and yet the water flows in our house almost without a thought. Below I have included a few pictures of the path that the ladies traveled 3-4 times each day to collect drty water. I struggled making the trek down this path as tears kept coming to the surface with the thought of my wife having to carry 30-40 lb jug of water up and down this path.

So God’s Spirit is heavy upon me and I am praying that He would use my income and leverage my gifts make a difference. All I know is that I cannot be the same person anymore. Below is a set of pictures of the path the ladies had to travel to get water. The second picture is me halfway down the path looking back up.


October 7, 2008 - Posted by | Africa, Uncategorized


  1. Thanks for sharing, hard but good stuff!

    Comment by Spence | October 7, 2008 | Reply

  2. So, will one of the projects be installing a well? I’ve seen wells that have a pump which is run by kids playground equipment. Can Carmel do that for these people?

    Comment by Kristy Miller | October 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. We are so stinkin’ spoiled.

    I would not be honest if I did not say I like it, but I don’t like it at the same time, we get too comfortable and forget about God and others. I actually just wrote something on my blog related to that. It was just stewing in me.

    Comment by Keith Tackel | October 7, 2008 | Reply

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