Huffpost OWN

How A South African Community Gained Life-Changing Access To Clean Water In One Day (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:

Rosalina is a widow who lives in South Africa. Until recently, her community of Newington had no running water, so she had to make a long, daily trek to a water basin. The water was unsanitary and the path was dangerous, but she had no other choice.

"If you haven't got water, you can't live," Rosalina said in the above video from "Operation Change." "Water is the first priority in a person's life."

Rosalina's friend explained why they would never fetch water alone. "Many people have been hurt and some of the ladies have been raped, [even] with a baby on their back," she said.

On the day that cameras followed Rosalina and her friend on their trek, the first place they checked for water was dry. "No water, only mud," Rosalina said. "We have to go to the other spot."

She hated getting water from the other basin because cows drank there, but it was their only alternative. In the video, Rosalina and her friend are shown as they stepped past manure to get to the debris-filled water. "A lot of people get sick from diarrhea from the dirty water," she said. "I can't drink it without boiling it first."

That grueling daily trek is over now, thanks to Operation Change. After learning about the water crisis in Newington, Steven Sawalich and his team from Operation Change stepped up.

"We're going to help build a solar water pump for this community," Sawalich said. They assisted in digging an underground water resource, which is much safer to drink. A solar panel was installed, creating a sustainable water source powered by the sun.

When they turned the pump on for the first time, the team was hopeful everything would work as planned. Though the water came out slowly at first, it was working -- and a working water pump is life-changing for Newington. Men and women from the community came together to celebrate, bringing buckets with them.

"Even though it was just a trickle coming out, it just shows our expectations compared to the community's," Sawalich said. "We see a trickle of water, but they see life."

Carlos Paz, Jr. from the Operation Change team was moved by how much of a difference they were able to make in just one short day. "It only took a couple hours, and to know that we can have this kind of impact in the time it takes to watch a movie, in the time it takes to just sit around and do nothing -- you can really make something of that time," he said.

"We are rich now," Rosalina smiled. "We are the richest people with water, because water is life."

"Operation Change" airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

Like Us On Facebook |
Follow Us On Twitter

Filed by Lynn Okura
 

Stay Connected

FOLLOW US
  • Download The Huffington Post
  • Get Huffington Post for Android
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Get Huffington Post for Blackberry
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
    HuffPost OWN
    Thousands of Followers & Thousands of Listed
  • Apple
    Download The Huffington Post
  • Android
    Get Huffington Post for Android
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Blackberry
    Get Huffington Post for Blackberry
    Enter your mobile number to get the link!
    Message and data rates may apply. By clicking 'Send,' you represent that you are the account holder for the number you provided (or have the account holder's permission to receive a text message) and agree that the AOL Terms and Privacy Policy apply.
  • Email
  • Rss
Rob Bell's Course
Subscribe to Oprah on Facebook
Oprah's Book Club Get the latest news on Oprah's new book club. Sign up today >