Every Avana® bottle you purchase helps support safe water projects in developing countries around the world. We work with trusted non-profits, like The Water Project, to provide safe water where it is needed most.

We recently received a moving report from The Water Project about one of the initiatives we collaborated with.  We wanted to pass it along.

The Imbwaga Spring—a water source near the village of Bumira, Kenya—was long believed to be cursed. Before the project, the spring was a small, muddy pool of water open to contamination from animals and people in the village. The 210 people who depended on this spring knew the water was unsafe to drink, but they could not afford to treat it. Many people in the community were continually sick from drinking the contaminated water.

Woman Gathering Water from the Unprotected Spring

Still, they had no choice but to drink from the spring.

When members of The Water Project visited Bumira to conduct hygiene and sanitation training with community members, they noticed two women with small children sitting 100 meters away from the training site. When the facilitator beckoned them to join the rest of the group, the women shouted at the top of their voices, “We cannot come close to the spring—our children will be infected!”

“The water curse” was believed to infect the air around the spring. It was thought that the area was particularly unsafe when the sun was absent. The community members believed that the unprotected spring discharged infectious bad air. When a baby became infected, they believed that no amount of treatment could cure the infection and the child would pass within a few hours.

However, the signs and symptoms that infected community members exhibited were common of waterborne diseases such as giardia, cholera, and typhoid—diseases contracted not through air but through contaminated water.

We worked with The Water Project to fund the construction of a protective cover for the spring. Since the curse was believed to be heightened at night, no one would approach the spring until after sunrise, no matter the cost of waking up without water. During the construction period, the project facilitator would wake up early to cure the cement, but local laborers would not come to the spring until the sun rose each day.

Community members confidently celebrate protected Imbwaga Spring, breaking “the water curse”

On the final day of construction, when the spring covering was completed, everyone confidently came to the spring to celebrate because they believed the curse had been buried forever. The occasion was full of pomp and circumstance, including singing and dancing. The joy within the community was overwhelming—a celebration of freedom from diseases and from “the water curse.”

“To me, it’s an answered prayer because women in this community avoided coming to the spring for fear of being affected by the water curse,” reflects Maurine, a primary school student from the community. “If we had no water for making breakfast, we had to wait until the sun rose, as it was believed that the sun’s rays killed the curse. At times when the sun did not rise, we would stay hungry and thirsty. Thank you for protecting our spring. I can now come down at any time without fear. Life will be sweet as I can finish my chores on time and go play with my friends or read.”

Thank you for helping make this a reality. With every Avana® bottle you purchase, you help provide safe water to communities in developing countries by funding wells, dams, rainwater catchments, and more. To learn more visit avana.com/give. To learn more about the Water Project, visit thewaterproject.org.