They Call Themselves ‘Catholics’

CRS donated several drilling rigs to the Ethiopian Catholic Church to tap deep groundwater. Our partner, the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat, used one of the rigs to drill a borehole in Dire Dawa, an arid eastern district in Ethiopia. The borehole now provides 2,400 households with access to clean water. Recently, the Secretary General of the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat Abba Hagos Hayish toured some of the communities benefiting from this work.

“What do you think of this water project?” asked Abba Hagos of a Muslim woman filling a 5-gallon jug with water from one of the system’s taps.

“It’s wonderful!” she exclaimed. “Look how clean this water is. Our life has changed.”

“Do you know who is responsible for this project?” Abba Hagos inquired. The woman put down her water jug and looked at him with a slightly puzzled expression.

“They call themselves Catholics ,” she said, emphasizing the strange word at the end of her sentence. “I’m not sure exactly what that means, but we give thanks to God for their work.”

About 80 percent of Ethiopia’s nearly 80 million people live in rural areas. Of these, fewer than 15 percent have access to safe water.

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