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Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Deep Down Thirst

In Many Places, Africa Does Not Have Clean Water;
And Sometimes There is Nothing to Drink at All

by Susan Fox 

Imagine you are incredibly thirsty and someone offers you a glass of water. 

But you can visually see organisms moving up and down in the water, which is brown in colour. 

“But since you are thirsty you could only close your eyes and drink.” Those are the words of Fr. Joe Mungai, FMH,  who drank that water while serving in Awasi, Kisumu, Kenya. 

His first appointment as a young priest  after his ordination on June 7, 2014 was to this incredibly large parish, St. John the Apostle Awasi Catholic Church, Kisumu Archdiocese, Kenya, consisting of 7,000 families, 21 mission churches, 30 primary schools and 11 secondary schools. Father is a Franciscan Missionary of Hope, a relatively new congregation started in Nairobi, Kenya in 1993.

Not only did he deal with traveling a vast territory in the Western part of Kenya initially without a car, but he also had to learn a new language and deal with a new culture. “In Kenya we have 43 different languages and my mother tongue is Kikuyu. But  where I was sent, they speak Luo,” Father Joe said.  

“But the main challenge which still remains is accessibility to clean drinking water. People would walk for miles to get water from rivers
Hauling water over great distances in Kenya
and dams which was not clean, so there were a number of diseases associated with dirty water and I feared for my life.”

In Awasi, they built  more reservoir tanks and supplied water filters through Water With Blessings, Middletown, Kentucky.

Where I come from, my birth village, we still face the same challenge of accessing clean drinking water but unlike my former parish, we do not have any river flowing or any lake near by. The only way to access this water is to drill a borehole which is extremely expensive to do,” Fr. Joe explained. 

Fr. Joe’s birthplace is in Central Kenya —  Gatura,Thigio in Kiambu County, about  25 miles from Nairobi and 250 miles from Awasi. Groundwater is the only available source of
water in Thigio. Currently, it rises to the
Water collection in Gatura,Thigio, future site of borehole 
surface during certain months of the year and can be scooped out, but during the dry season, the people don’t have water to drink. Their health suffers. And some die.  

Fr. Joe hopes to raise $25,000 for a borehole that will drill down to the groundwater on his grandfather’s land. Then he will need to install the electricity, buy a water pump, build a water tower, and  lay underground pipes, etc. He estimates the total cost of the water project will be $80,000 when completed. 

The borehole will provide clean water to 2000 families, a primary school and a secondary school in the Thigio neighbourhood. Fr. Joe
Lucy Nungari Mungai
has already paid for a geological report that shows the feasibility of the project. The borehole will be drilled in honour of his mother Lucy Nungari Mungai, who died last December because she lacked access to safe water.
Lucy Mungai's funeral
Fr. Joe is now fulfilling his new assignment from the Franciscan Missionaries of Hope as a hospital chaplain in Long Island, New York. He has been a regular contributor to this blog since September 2016, and his sermons are universally enjoyed by our readers. 
Fr. Joe behind the gravestone of his grandfather Njoroge Mungai.
The borehole will be drilled on his grandfather's land
If you would like to donate to digging a bore hole for Fr Joe's home village, please go to WaterWithBlessings

This is an update from Fr Joe Mungai. They are beginning the project: 
I would like to appreciate your efforts and energy spent towards fundraising and setting up of the mobile cause https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/WWBLUCY and Go Fund Me pages. Many known and unknown friends have donated towards this noble course of drilling a water bore hole in honour of my late Mother Lucy. Looking at what God has given us through these friends I am of the opinion that we can begin the work. Last evening I talked with the contractor and asked him how far we can go with what we have at hand. He agreed with my suggestion that we can do it in three phases. First will be to sink the borehole, second phase will be to install the pump and installation of the water tower and Third phase will be to distribute water to homes around my village. We have enough funds to sink the water borehole. So we are beginning the project, as we look for more funds either through donations or through my little stipends that I get monthly. I have  asked my uncle Fr. Boniface Mungai, a priest in the Archdiocese of Mombasa (Kenya), to be the liaison with the Contractor to supervise the work.  

A thousand mile journey begins with a single step.



  1. Thanks Susan for navigating it through....

  2. I have shared this at various pages now. Hopefully you will soon be able to help the people in Kenya with clean water!

    God bless, Ruth

    1. Me too! I hope it will help Kenya. God bless you. God bless Kenya. God bless America