I’m not your usual Water Tour participant. Recently, I returned from my fourth Water 1st Ethiopia Water Tour. This year, I was able to share the experience with my husband, Chris. Villages there are building access to clean water as a result of the partnership of Water Action and Water 1st. We were there to monitor the planning, installation and sustainability of these new water systems. It is so exciting to see them in all stages of development and completion.

I don’t have the expertise in engineering necessary for this work, but my experience working with families provides a lens for me to bear witness to deep community roots now nourished by clean water. Village leaders meet with us and describe how they are elected and make decisions about this shared resource. They’ve already forgotten the incredibly hard work it took to complete the project. Instead, they describe new confidence as a result of training, and belief in their future plans based on their success. These experiences are the roots of hope–the same kind of experiences I see in my elementary school. This is the connection for me, my travel reminds me how fundamental those roots are for people anywhere. Even in the toughest circumstances, we all seek ways to protect and fulfill the hopes and dreams of our families.

Girls from the village of Bishikiltu enjoying some time in front of the camera while collecting water.
Women of Gonbisa Kussaye gathering water from a stream.
Karen carrying water with the women of Gonbisa Kussaye
Chris with our drivers, Teklay and Belay. Ethiopians might be the most friendly and hospitable people on the planet.