Down a winding dirt path in the thick of leafy green bushes and trees lives a small community in Benin. Humble mud huts and wood fences dot the land as barefoot children wander around, holding hands with younger siblings and calling out to one another in Fon. This is the village of Vongnigodo.

When GAiN provided a well for their community back in 2016, it caused a revolutionary shift in the daily rhythms of the people that continues to have a positive effect on their world today. Not only did access to safe water cleanse and restore the physical health of villagers– it gave them the gift of time.

Julien, Ghislain and Adolph are three members of Vongnigodo’s well committee who described to our team the ways in which the well has radically impacted their village.

“Before the water well, we had a lot of disease and stomach aches,” Julien explained. “Since the water well arrived, we are free from all these diseases. Before, we walked long distances, but with this water well, we save time. So it means that women don’t go far away before getting water.”

Ghislain, Julien and Adolph

He also shared that women would have to gather water three times a day, walking a kilometre and a half one way in order to reach a stagnant, muddy stream. Although this water is filthy, Vongnigodo would use it for everything, including drinking, bathing and washing their clothes. 

After expending most of their energy on filling up buckets, women would then be forced to trek back uphill with the heavy weight of the dirty water balanced atop their heads. Since women in this community also farm during the day, they must gather water in the early morning before joining the men in the field. 

Women [were] tired after they [collected] water,” Ghislain shared. “Because they [were] tired, they [didn’t] have capacity to do all the activities in the day.” 

Old water source

Relying on a distant and toxic water source strips people of their health and swallows up their capacity to focus on other priorities. Not only do household duties fall to the wayside for women, but spending intentional time with their children and spouses becomes next to impossible.  

However, with Vongnigodo’s well now in the centre of the village, the process of collecting water is delightfully simple. Women can come and go with ease, filling their buckets whenever needed without using up hours of their day. This direct access is not just a convenience– it is a deep sigh of relief.

“Thank you to GAiN! Because of this well, there is no more sickness! No more stomach aches and diarrhea,” the three committee members said. 

To maximize the restorative power of clean water, GAiN equipped 218 members of the village with Hygiene and Sanitation Training. The team also facilitated an interactive teaching on gender roles and domestic abuse with a group of 146 villagers to encourage empathy and understanding between men and women. The local church shared about the love of Jesus with the people of Vongnigodo and 293 people watched the JESUS Film. Within this group, 23 people made decisions to follow Jesus and 5 chose to receive further discipleship in their faith. 

Gathering for hygiene and sanitation training

Féliciènne Agbode, a woman who watched the JESUS Film, shared, “I am very happy with the path from which the Lord delivered me by giving me the grace…”.

As a way to encourage believers in the village to gather together and worship, the new church in Vongnigodo received a church building. Training was also given to a designated team of leaders in the church.

Pastor Bernadin Avloko said, “I am very happy with this training which particularly allows me to learn the best ways for [the] church” Another villager, Jacques Avosse, was also incredibly impacted by GAiN’s work in his community.

The village’s fruit and vegetable garden

Direct access to safe water has transformed this small community in Benin from the inside out. Diseases have vanished, relationships have more time to flourish and energy for other activities has increased.

Clean water isn’t just a necessity for life – it is the ticket to an entirely different way of experiencing the world. Where there is access to safe water, there are mothers, fathers, pastors, farmers, children and elderly folk who can enjoy a healthy and secure way of life together. This life of abundance and wholeness is what we desire to give to the world. 

Give the gift of water.

You can help dramatically reduce disease, improve local health services, restore broken families and reveal the love of Jesus.

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