Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This was originally posted on 11/15/12 (with slight changes made today).
I grew up drinking tap water that tasted better than any bottled water out there. We had no fear of getting sick from the water, nor did we fear a lack of water, even in drought-ridden California.
It wasn’t until I was an exchange student in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1999 that I realized that not everyone has access to clean water. While we were there, we had to be extremely careful to not allow any tap water to enter our mouths–not even while brushing out teeth. (Granted, the people who live in Guadalajara can drink it with no problem because their bodies are used to the parasites can that exist in the water; however, our American bodies would not cope so well with those foreign objects in our systems, so we avoided it.) That was my first experience with not being able to drink tap water.
It was in Haiti that I first fully grasped the enormity and severity of not having clean water. We were surrounded by people who were using filthy water to wash their clothes, and I’m really not sure where they got their drinking water. It was heartbreaking. There was a huge Cholera outbreak that was related to the water supply, causing even more deaths in the damaged country.
The U.N. estimates that 2.6 billion people live without access to an adequate supply of clean water. They also estimate that a child dies every 20 seconds from lack of clean water/diseases caused by dirty water. It is incredible to me that in the year 2012 there are still millions of people dying each year from something that is easily prevented!
That is why organizations like Humankind Water and Blood:Water Mission (and many others) are so important! Both of these organizations work to build/dig wells in places where clean water doesn’t exist. Humankind Water recently won a contest to be on the shelves at Walmart and their bottles are currently in 200 stores on the East Coast (Harrisburg and Palmyra have them, local readers!). ALL of their profits go to building wells to provide access to clean water. Blood:Water Mission focuses primarily on Africa and has had a tremendous impact there. Both of these organizations are worth your support! $1 gives 1 person access to clean water for 1 year!
Please don’t take your abundant access to clean water for granted…and do what you can to help others have the same access. 🙂