Gift Clean Water to Ave Maria Mission

I am Father Avelino, a missionary working with the Ave Maria Mission in South Sudan, just over the border from the Central African Republic. Right now, our community is in dire need of resources, especially clean water. With no clean water, disease runs rampant, crops fail, and countless men, women, and children are left on the brink of death from thirst and malnutrition.

The Ave Maria Mission is home to one of the largest churches in the Catholic Diocese of Tombura-Yambio, and it regularly has people making pilgrimages to it throughout the year. In January 2020 alone, more than 500 young people stayed in the mission for an entire week.

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In addition to this, it’s the home to the Ave Maria Secondary School, St. Joseph the Worker Vocational Training Center, and the Ave Maria health center (which attends to approximately 60 patients each day). In 2021 we will be making much needed expansion to our health clinic and continuing the renovation of a dozen schools. And in the near future, we hope to build the St. Isidor the Farmer College of Agriculture in Ave Maria, which will teach citizens important trade skills, such as farming, that will help them thrive in a self-sustaining community in the future.

With the ever growing needs of the local community, it’s easy to see why Ave Maria Mission needs access to not only a secure water supply, but a clean and purified one as well (unfiltered, tainted water can carry all kinds of harmful bacteria and diseases that can destroy a community).

Water quenches thirst

In addition to funding all the projects we have underway, Sudan Relief Fund is working to fund the drilling of a new borehole, which is an access to a natural underground storage of water collected from rainfall. This is essential to meet the needs of our community. Once the borehole is complete, they will add a solar-powered water pump to carry this water throughout the facilities in Ave Maria Mission. Since electricity is so difficult to come by in this region, solar power is ultimately the cleanest, cheapest, and most reliable energy source to power the pump.

However, it’s not that easy to get this project started due to the numerous challenges.

First, the Ave Maria Mission is incredibly remote taking at least 11 hours to drive from Yambio. The proper equipment to drill the borehole will need to come all the way from Juba, which is even further. During the intense and frequent rainy seasons, the roads are almost impossible to travel and the underground high-water level makes drilling a borehole challenging. It’s not just digging a hole in the ground; it requires a level of expertise and the right type of equipment to get the job done right.

Clean water brings health and disease prevention

A borehole can’t be constructed anywhere. There first needs to be a survey done on the soil and surrounding landscape to ensure that there is a healthy, ample supply of water to access. The amount of supplies and equipment needs to be calculated carefully since the journey is more than 12 hours away by truck and having too much or too little of the supplies can delay the project and potentially cost thousands of dollars more.

While digging it is critical that the construction team set up special casings and walls to block out the surrounding soil and other impurities from entering the water supply. Once the water supply has been discovered, a platform and pump are installed to contain the water and to provide it to users in a safe and efficient manner. Finally, numerous tests are run on the water quality to ensure it is clean and pure, and ready to be delivered to the community. Altogether, this can cost more than $10,000, even more so in South Sudan where they will need to dig much deeper to reach water. To put things in perspective, in the United States, wells rarely go deeper than 65 feet. But in South Sudan, they have to go as deep as 300 feet to reach water.

If you donate today, you can help us finally bring clean water to the Ave Maria Mission. The pump will provide water needed to help bolster our work with the community in all facets, from the pilgrims, to the sick seeking aid at the health clinic. Without access to clean water, disease can spread rapidly. In fact, each year, more people die due to lack of access to clean water than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.

As you head into the Thanksgiving season to share blessing with family, we ask you look into your heart and find the compassion and generosity to bless our community with clean water. A gift of $150 (the equivalent of just $5 a day) can help us make significant headway on the water pump project. The people of the Ave Maria Mission are very grateful for your contributions. We could not do our work without your support.

p.s. In addition to your donation, please keep us in your prayers. For some here, every day is a struggle to survive. Your prayers really do make an impact.