A Reflection From Time With The Saints in Congo
Read the reflection from time with the Saints in Congo by Reverend Eugene W. James, Jr., Regional Minister, Christian Church in Michigan — September 2012
There is a saying with which most of us are familiar: “You don’t miss your water until the well runs dry.” How about first having to find water to miss? Coming home to running water I could actually drink made vivid the point of just how blessed I am to live in a community where it is taken for granted. During our time in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, our group of pilgrims visited two clean water sources developed by the church and witnessed first hand just how critical to the community they are.
There was a steady stream of persons, mostly women and children, coming down the path to the water source with buckets and containers of various sizes to obtain water to carry back to their homes. They filled the containers, balanced them on their heads, and made their way back up the hill and onto the road to their distant homes.
I particularly remember one young mother with her three children, probably ranging in age from six to twelve years old, standing tall in her determined dignity, telling us that life for her family was hard and having the clean water source was very important to them. The image of her youngest child who turned to watch me walk up the path with a bucket of water almost as tall as she was balanced on her head is burned into my memory forever. None of the children whined or complained about it being difficult to walk up the path or the containers of water being too heavy. They simply did what had to be done.
What a profound example of shared responsibility for children in our privileged society.