Two weeks ago my journey through Africa concluded as I returned to America. Two weeks I’ve been back in the Midwest adjusting to a society of convenience, overstimulation, impersonal exchanges, and hectic living. Two weeks since I last put pen to paper in an effort to document my thoughts and feelings during this new phase of transition.
Today I muster up courage to write even though I’m still processing. Today I break the silence to tell you about some good news and bad news.
The bad news?
- Today 1 billion people without access to water. Clean, safe water.
- This week 38,000 children under age 5 will die from unsafe drinking water and unsanitary living conditions.
- This year African women will walk over 40 billion hours, carrying over 40lbs of water. Water which is usually still not safe to drink.
This issue violates the basic human right to clean water and sanitation.
This issue hits close to home…
Because in the village I called home, I watched my neighbors drink water from the same creek in which they washed clothes, bathed children, and dumped waste.
Because most days someone I knew was hospitalized, suffering from any number of diseases spread through unsanitary water.
Because even though I was diligent about boiling and filtering water, I still contracted typhoid fever, amoebic dysentery, among other parasitic infections. May I never again take clean water for granted.
This issue has changed me. I’m trying to stop wasting water…
Before I went to Africa, I used to take long, hot showers.
Before I went to Africa, I used to leave the faucet running while brushing my teeth.
Before I went to Africa, I used to throw clothes in the washing machine even when they weren’t visibly or smellably dirty.
The good news?
This issue can be changed. And YOU can help change it…
- Educate yourself. Learn the facts.
- Find out how much water you use and discover ways to conserve water. Calculate your water footprint. Use the Web calculator or download the iPhone app
- Follow San Francisco’s lead and stop drinking bottled water (1/3 of which is actually tap water).
- Clean up our water. Dispose of hazardous products correctly.
- Consider making a donation to a reputable water project like Charity: water or Living Water International.
FYI: Today is Blog Action Day, an annual event which unites bloggers worldwide. By focusing on the same issue, blogs are able to generate discussion and encourage social action. Its a wonderfully noble, forward-thinking concept, put forth by change.org. Today the global conversation is centered on water. Clean, safe water.