Water is Life

For years now, Jenny and I have supported Water Is Basic, an organization that drills clean water wells in South Sudan. WIB is an interesting partnership that is making a huge difference there. It’s primarily a South Sudanese organization. They identified clean water as one of their greatest needs. They site, plan, and drill the wells. They use the water. The US partners simply provide most of the funding and some of the leadership. WIB hopes to be self-sufficient within a couple of years. The model works so well, and at such a low cost, that people in other countries see the model’s success and want to replicate it to meet some of their own greatest needs.

To help spread the word about the amazing work of Water is Basic, some supporters produced a 20-minute documentary film called Ru: Water is Life. Jenny and I attended the world premiere Sunday night at Irving Bible Church. Next the producers are entering the film in various film festivals and already got accepted in Florida. The cinematographer was our awesome and talented friend Joel Smith, and the camera work shows his distinctive touch.

RU is a beautiful film that tells the story of a twelve-year-old South Sudanese girl who is the primary caretaker for her family. Three times a day she walks two miles round trip to a muddy, disease-ridden puddle to gather water for her family. She uses a five-gallon jug called a jerrycan that weighs about 40 pounds when full. She must structure her day around these water trips and then hope the water doesn’t make her sick when she drinks it. Despite her difficult situation, she has learned a remarkable resourcefulness that allows her to survive with practically nothing. Even more impressive, she is filled with a remarkable joy that shines through in her beautiful smile. My favorite image waits at the end of the film when the drilling team finally breaks through to the clean water deep beneath the dry Sudanese brush. Like oil from a new well in Texas, the water gushes out at the surface and begins to flow downhill toward the viewer. Nearby villagers watch in wonder. Hope flows like wine at a wedding feast, and a new life begins for thousands.

In addition to the film festival campaign for Ru, the producers and president are also setting up private screenings for individuals, churches, and any other group that wants to learn more about Water is Basic and how they can help change lives in South Sudan. If you or your organization is looking for a way to make a huge impact by providing jobs and clean water for thousands of people half a world away, please visit WaterIsBasic.org.