Peruvians learn about clean water and the Living Water
Life-threatening diseases are being tackled by a unique partnership between a water engineer, a dentist, a nurse and an evangelist in remote parts of Peru.

By Tim Allan, Peru in Amérique du sud

Nurse, Esther Valenzuela, teaches children about water-borne parasites.

Life-threatening diseases are being tackled by a unique partnership between a water engineer, a dentist, a nurse and an evangelist in remote parts of Peru.

The illnesses affect many people in Andes villages but children — and especially young children — are particularly vulnerable. Parasites which lurk in unsafe drinking water cause a range of complaints including anaemia, malnourishment and stomach upsets. All of them can affect both the mental and physical development of children.

But in the Apuricar region, not far from the historic Macchu Picchu world heritage site, Serving In Mission (SIM) water engineer Lizzie White has started a training project designed to combat these problems — and show how the living water of Jesus Christ can transform lives. Working through a group of churches, she has trained nurses, local government officers, water professionals and others about how to combat the parasites.

Lizzie says, “The most exciting thing has been to see the training used in the field. One of my SIM colleagues, Erin Conway, is a dentist and once a month she takes a mobile clinic out to the villages we are working in. As people have been queuing up to see her, one of the nurses who has done the training, Esther Valenzuela (above), has been explaining the dangers of parasites. She gets them to imagine a drop of water is the size of the large blue tarpaulin in front of her — and then uses models to show the parasites at that scale."

Once they understand that, she tells them how they can protect the spring they use for drinking water, how they can disinfect their reservoir, how they can maintain their water system properly and many other ways of ensuring water is clean.

While she talks to some of them, 70-year-old evangelist, Cesilio Huamannawi, sits down with others and opens the Bible.

Cesilio makes the parallel between clean water and the living water of Jesus, but Lizzie has also shown him where the Bible talks about the need for good hygiene. Look up Deuteronomy 23:12–13 and you’ll see how powerful that can be.

Lizzie says, “It’s great to be able to show people that God cares about their health and hygiene — and that he always has done.”