Earlier this week we had a planned power outage in our small community in the Upper Peninsula of Northern Michigan. We were pre-warned and prepared, and those of us who choose to stay home for the day set up the trusty old generator. Ours is only small enough to run the pump to our well. Unless you need the power to run medical equipment, heating, or air conditioning, I’m sure that most of us agree that we can get by without electricity for a day. However, we can’t get by comfortably without water. We need water to cook, wash, flush, drink, etc. Think about the number of times a day the tap is turned on and clean, drinkable water is at our fingertips.As I went from room to room all day, mindlessly, automatically turning on light switches that I knew wouldn’t work I couldn’t stop thinking about a young mother the team recently met at one of our food distribution trips to Baringo County.
Tragically, her 10-year-old daughter was attacked and killed by a crocodile while fetching water from nearby Lake Baringo. The young mother goes down to the lake every day, searching for any trace of her daughter.
That’s nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide. Or, twice the population of the United States. The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family. Not only does walking for water keep children out of school or take up time that parents could use to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick, not to mention the dangers of attack that young girls fear while traveling isolated paths to the nearest water source, often several miles away.
If you look closely at the water bottle this young boy, who we met during our recent food distribution to Baringo County, is carrying, you’ll notice that he has just filled it from the muddy, still waters behind him.
I just wish there was more we could do about the situation oflack of safe access to clean water. If anyone has experience in this field or is connected to an organization or service club that has experience in this area, and would like to volunteer their time and expertise,please contact me.