A jumbo jet fell from the sky at 7 a.m. over the Atlantic. There are no survivors. Orphaned children from Africa made up the passenger list. All lost to the vagary of the water.
Inexplicably, horrifically, at 11 a.m. it happens again. Another plane, more children, this time from Southeast Asia, down in the Pacific. At 3 p.m. a third jet disappears over the Indian Ocean. At 7 p.m. yet another. Again at 11 p.m. and 3 a.m.
At 7 a.m. the pattern begins to repeat. Day after day, every four hours a jet-full of children dies.
And yet the world is strangely silent. No planes search the oceans; no international outcry bands world leaders together and harnesses resources to put an end to the deaths. No grounding of planes until the mystery can be solved.
But it is no mystery. And there are no planes. But the children are actually lost to the vagary of the water.
What kills them by the planeload every four hours is waterborne disease. Around the world children continue to die at the rate of one child a minute because they have no access to clean water.
Yesterday at our church, Al Goff, president of Global Aid Network (GAiN), talked of this tragedy. He explained how $100 can provide a family with a water filter and hygiene training and followup. That filter removes 99% of contaminants and can be used for up to 10 years.
GAiN’s WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) program provides filters, wells, toilets/latrines and training. Human waste is a major cause of polluted water, so a toilet or latrine literally saves lives. Hygiene training ensures the best outcomes as people learn the connections between their habits and their health.
Next time we get a drink of water, use a toilet or wash our hands, let’s thank God that we can. Then let’s pray for those that have no such luxury.
God will then have the open hearts in us that he needs to tell us what part we should play. Maybe we can band together with others to raise $100 for a water filter for GAiN to deliver. Maybe we can find out what our own government is doing to help children around the world have access to clean water. Maybe we can do much more.
But I can say without a doubt if those planes were falling from the sky we would not be silent. And we cannot be now.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice. (Proverbs 31:8–9)