Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 11: The Walk for Water

You always hear about the water shortages throughout the continent of Africa, and how so many people can be found walking miles for water each and every day.  For most of us, we can intellectually grasp this concept to degree, but do we really get it.  The village of Bulenga is fortunate enough to have a few large wells that can be found throughout the community.  They struggled for water leading up until 2007 when a team of Swedish missionaries opened up the spring for the local community.  Since then, there have been plumbing enhancements that now deliver water to a few residential homes throughout the community.  Having a tap on your property is most definitely a luxury, but it’s not always reliable. 

 This man is using his bike to transport water as a means of income

The larger percentage of the population cannot financially afford to have the tap installed on their property, so they walk to the local wells for water.  They use large plastic containers to transport the water starting with 5 liters up to 20 liter containers.  Most of you are probably familiar with the illustrations seen on television or in magazines of people young and old carrying water on top of their heads.  Although  these illustrations capture the essence of the culture, we are only seeing a small fraction of the real picture.  Today I helped the orphanage transport water from the local well that is only approximately 500 yards from their home.  I made a few trips with Patrick and transported the 20 liter containers, one in each hand.  Now, I consider myself to be in pretty fare shape, but I must admit this walk for 500 yards was no joke.  To put this into perspective, this would be like carrying ten 2 liters of soda in each hand for the length of 5 football fields.

Now can you imagine making this trek each and every day just for water?  As I shared, Bulenga is fortunate because water is readily available.  It can be short at times due to drought, but none the less, it is available.  Let’s take this a bit further.  There are some communities throughout the continent of Africa that are barren and have no wells.  If you are lucky, you will have a low point in a village that collects run off, but even this is not healthy as most of the water in these areas is stagnant and contaminated.  Those without water will literally walk for miles each and every day just to fetch water.  I can’t even grasp the magnitude of the wear and tear these treks leave on their bodies, not to mention the time that is consumed by simply fetching water.  If local wells were available, the time spent normally fetching water could be applied to working and earning a wage.

It is a proven fact that there are springs beneath the continent of Africa that are rich and plentiful, however most communities lack resources for drilling wells.  The western world has been participating in well projects for many years now, and yet we recognize we are just reaching the tip of the iceberg. If we look at some of the core issues surrounding poverty, most of them simply stem out of lack of water and malnourishment.  In order for men to be productive and lively in society, they must first be able to properly take care of their bodies. Without water, productivity will remain absent.

Just to give you an idea, some wells cost up to $5000 USD to install.  This means if 100 people pulled together their resources at $50 USD each, they could literally enhance the life of an entire community.  Beyond this, wells are used as a vehicle to drive in further education and training within a community.

I know the problems are vast, but little by little we can make a difference!

Wishing you all the greatest day!

PS.  I wanted to introduce all of you to a visitor I had last night.  Have a look at this hissing cockroach that was making himself comfortable on my bed.  This one was on the smaller size, on average they are much bigger than this.

1 comment:

  1. That is one ugly bug. Does it actually hiss?