Today is Blog Action Day and the topic is one of my favorites.
“Can I start you off with something to drink, Miss?”
“I’m fine with water, thanks.”
Yep, I’m that girl. Why would I order a sugary soda for $3.95 when I can cleanse my body of toxins and have unlimited free refills?. On the average day, I’ve usually consumed the expert recommended 2L/day by breakfast. Seriously.
Waiters hate me.
I love me a tall drink of water (double meaning? yes) but it’s easy to forget that in most of the world this seemingly unlimited resource is not only a luxury but simply unimaginable. I had heard stories about women walking upwards of 12 miles a day just to retrieve a jerry can of water, of kids dying from water-related illnesses and of severe droughts debilitating and destroying a community for years to come but until I actually witnessed the daily water migrations, the sick kids and the effects of drought I simply didn’t get it.
Now, I don’t want to get preachy here – we all know there are enough people preaching about the importance and impact of global poverty. I prefer to share success stories – instances where lives were changed for the better. This issue we all hear so much about is enormous and when looked at from a distance it seems impossible to make a dent. But look closer – there are changes happening. My dear friend and executive director of VICDA, Irene, shares a story on her blog about digging a bore hole at Amboseli for the Maasai in the area:
One day when i went to visit the water driling site, a group of maasai women were passing by where we were and i decided to walk with them as they were going to fetch the water and i wanted to see the distance they walk from home to water station. After walking a few kilometers with them, i felt i didn’t have any more energy to walk in the sun for more kilometers and i decided to go back to the site. These women walk with their babies infront and water at the back. They have been leaving home at 9am in the morning to walk to the water station and get home at 2pm. Each one of us can imagine the joy they have after having this borehole drilled next to their homes.
These women have just been handed back 5 hours a day. 35 hours a week. 1,820 hours almost 76 days a year. Imagine what can be done with that time!
In my experience, water is the first step in helping communities like the Maasai in Amboseli to reach their full potential. Once clean, drinkable water is accessible, the rest – health, crops, time for education – falls into place.
So, that’s my schpeal and my happily donated blog space for the more than worthy cause. I urge you to sign the petition for an International Water Treaty because I think we can all agree on one thing: every man, woman and child deserves access to clean water.