We have water!!!  5,000 people living in Balchi, Ethiopia have access to clean drinking water for the first time and another 5,000 will have access shortly. That means 10,000 lives are forever changed. Clean water gives the gift of health and time that can be used to get an education and participate in income generating activities that will end poverty for families living in Balchi, Ethiopia. Villagers can now access clean, fresh drinking water near their homes with just the turn of a faucet! To many of us, this is something we have come to expect or simply something we easily take for granted. For these villagers, obtaining water has been a long, grueling daily chore that took hours. Moreover, the water they did collect was dirty, disease ridden and unsafe to drink. Balchi, Ethiopia is a rural village located 50 kilometers away from the capital city of Addis Ababa.  There are 5,000 people living in Balchi and another 5,000 in the surrounding villages who have never had access to clean drinking water. We have been working for the past year to change that and we are pleased to share another update on our progress. Below is the water reservoir.  The reservoir sits on top of a hill between all of the villages and stores clean water until needed. When villagers need water, the water travels through pipe systems and out of faucets located at the bottom of the hill.  Once the reservoir dips to a certain level, a generator is turned on and water is pumped back up into the reservoir.This is the generator house built to protect and house the generator that pumps water up into the reservoir.  Once the second phase of the well is complete, an assigned villager will monitor the gasoline levels for the generator. ENA staff and villagers work to dig trenches to house the pipe systems on either side of the hill. One side is complete and the other will be completed soon! Below is the deep well that we dug during the first phase of the project.  It is 200 meters under the ground and the source of the clean water that is pumped up into the reservoir.  There are also faucets that allow direct access to clean water. This one well is changing the lives of 10,000 people and their families for years to come. Just last week, water reached our newest water access point. This means the latest pipe system we built is functioning properly and the villages on this side of the hill now have access to clean water! [video width="640" height="352" mp4="http://ibt.348.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/IMG_2741.mp4"][/video] Once the final part of the project is complete, Balchi and the surrounding villages will takes full responsibility for the maintenance of the well. We will also give them full ownership of the well. The villages will select a water committee to protect and maintain the reservoir, generator, and faucets. And to cover these costs, the villagers will all pay a small fee each month. We are thrilled at the progress of this well and know that the benefits of clean water will be extensive and far reaching. Almost every aspect of their lives will be improved with this one basic need. Thank you to the Watkins family and everyone who made this project possible. Words can’t express our appreciation and the villagers’ gratitude for bringing hope and clean water into their lives.]]>