Miriam is a Pygmy woman and former slave living in the Bahaha village of the Ituri rainforest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In 2012 she was devastated by “river blindness,” permanent blindness caused by a waterborne disease she contracted while retrieving parasite-borne water from the river near her village.
In the DRC, this made Miriam untouchable. Her husband left her because she could no longer fetch water to cook his meals or perform other household duties. She and her two small children — she had lost the other five — were forced to scavenge for food and to live off of only two liters of dirty, contaminated water each day. Last year, a Water4 trained drill team changed that. In January of 2014, Water4 partner, Shalom Drillers mobilized her Pygmy tribe and freed them from slavery under their non-Pygmy masters. Through our Fight for the Forgotten initiative, they were granted land for their homes and farm. This land meant freedom from generations of oppression.
The Shalom Drillers also installed a well in the new Bahaha Pygmy camp…just 20 steps from Mama Miriam’s hut. Today she again has the pride of fetching her own water. And for the first time in her life, it’s safe water.