Galemo returning with Water. Credit: ACT/DCA/Fikerte Abebe

As disasters strike it can sometimes be difficult to connect with how our work really impacts people’s lives. This can be especially true for slow-building disasters like droughts, where there is really not one specific event or moment in time that stands for the disaster. We hear and see in the news how people are suffering and we read about how much is being raised in response and how these gifts are being used, but it just doesn’t sink home.

Sometimes we need a story. To connect us with the life of another. To see the face of one impacted by a faceless event. To have it sink home. That’s the way I felt after reading the ACT Alliance story of Galemo.

As it turns out the act of collecting water and food falls, literally, on the backs of the women in Ethiopia. As the drought has worsened conditions, causing wells to run dry and ponds to disappear, women like Galemo must walk farther and try carrying more to save on multiple trips. Even then this is at times not enough. For Galemo, she is only able to pause for a moment to speak about her story as she hopes to get back home to do chores in time to head out for a second multi-hour run for water.

So as I read about the gifts of the ELCA, especially those pre-position in Dec of last year, being used by partners like LWF to provide drinkable water to communities, I think of Galemo’s story. Of how something that seems so simple as providing a glass of clean water for someone can have such an impact. This is what it means to be there, waiting, ready and capable. To not only be Disaster Response but also Disaster Prepared.

Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response allow the church to respond globally in times of need. Donate now.