Unsung Heroes: Mary Taka
Mary, supported by Blood:Water Mission, has been teaching a multi-faceted approach called WASH: "WA" stands for water, the "S" for sanitation, and the "H" for hygiene. On any given day, this may mean teaching about safe water access, proper fecal disposal, and the practice of hand-washing with soap. Abura, Uganda is one of the many communities that has been profoundly impacted by Mary's training. As more and more women and people in leadership became involved and advocated for these new practices, Mary began to see homes transform. They were cleaner, safer places, and the people showed a new pride in them. "They want us to go and visit their homes in order to see how far they have gone with the hygiene and sanitation facilities in their homes," she says.
There have been challenges, too. On a recent stay in Abura, Mary revisited some families who had previously been trained in WASH. Some had built tippy taps (a hand washing device that is operated by a foot lever) or pit latrines, but improper use was undermining their effectiveness. However, Mary remained undeterred. "I call back people, so that we have a refresher course to pass through the WASH component," Mary says. "And then we sit with the leaders of the community so that we see what we can do next for such people."
While hygiene and sanitation education is vital to a community's well-being, Mary's vision of healing expands to the whole person. As she educates people on WASH, she also shares the gospel. "You see, people will be sickly. People will be unhappy, hopeless. But as we give the water, as we give the training, then we preach the gospel. The people receive healing outside and healing in spiritual life so that we reach people holistically," she shares.
You can support Mary, and other heroes, by becoming a Community:Builder today.