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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Streams in the desert

Lutheran water projects make Ethiopian villages drought-proof

Ahmed Ali doesn't conform to the world's typical image of Ethiopia. Nor does his village, Serkama. Tall and quietly confident, he stands in the shallows of the Serkama River and oversees villagers as they cut weeds and dredge silt from a channel of water rushing from the river's side.

Children squeal and play in the water as their elders work. Hunger-devastated bodies don't exist here — no bloated bellies, no shrink-wrapped ribs, no malnutrition.

The channel — diverted from the river in 1987 as part of a Lutheran World Federation/World Service project — brings life-giving water to dozens of thirsty fields of maize, sorghum, vegetables and citrus. These fields, large gardens really, hug the channel as it curves toward the village of 950 families. A pile of stones serves as the irrigation gate, releasing or stopping the flow at the entrance of each field.



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