Water – By Laura Marshall
(Sponsoring Smiles – Part II) (Part I)
Welcome back to Sponsoring Smiles where we’re looking at each piece of the sponsorship puzzle. Earlier this week, we talked about one of the most basic components of what Children’s HopeChest does: food. Today I’d like to focus on what might be THE most basic necessity of life: water.
Water makes up about 70% of the Earth and 55-60% of our bodies. We can go about three weeks without food and survive, but we can’t go more than three days without water. It is needed for every single process that occurs in our bodies and in every living thing on our planet.
In America, we typically have an abundance of water. It’s getting quite warm here where I live in Georgia, and the kids have been wanting to play outside a lot. However, it’s quite warm, so they invariably want to play in the little kiddie pool. We turn on the spigot and clean, clear water flows out. They fill the pool, then attach the sprinkler for even more fun. The other day, they set the sprinkler in front of the swings and played “sprinkler swinging.”
Considering the post I’m planning on writing, I feel a bit guilty writing that out because I know, in principle, what the kids in Ongongoja go through to get water.
In the rural parts of Uganda—and much of Africa—there is no running water. There is no plumbing. There are no bathtubs. No faucets. No toilets. No federally regulated, potable water available with the turn of a knob or twist of a handle. Every day, someone has to walk for water, and it’s usually the children. They walk miles for water—and I mean that literally. They can walk between one and five miles from home to reach a well or other source of water.
According to water.org, 9 million out of 36 million people (25%) lack safe water, and 23 million (64%) lack sanitation services. The further from the cities people live, the less access they have. But even if they do have a well to walk to—a well that’s been drilled by someone, likely from a charity—that well might be contaminated. Children might walk four miles to reach a well that has dirty water. Groundwater from wells needs to be monitored, something that isn’t always practical, especially in rural areas. If you want to read more, check out this excellent post at The Water Project.
Let’s do a little exercise together. I did this in November when I wrote on my blog about water, but I want to go a little more in depth this time.
Consider the sources of water available to you in your home. Count them (I’ll wait).
I have 18 sources of water in my 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home. EIGHTEEN! That blows my mind. I’m going to list them all for you and talk in a little more detail about a few of them.
To start, I have one kitchen faucet. There are five bathroom faucets. All of these provide both hot and cold water with almost no effort from me.
There are three shower heads and one bathtub faucet. You might frown and wonder why I counted them that way, but think about it. A shower head sprays water down over a person, but a bathtub faucet can be used for more than just bathing. It can be used to fill large containers, like mop buckets, that can be used to clean the house.
We have three toilets. Again, you might argue that a toilet isn’t really a source of water because we don’t drink the water, but it is still part of the plumbing system of the home. People in rural Uganda don’t have bathrooms in which to take care of nature’s call. There are a few ways they might deal with this, but none of the methods are very sanitary or private.
There is one source of water to my dishwasher and one to my washing machine. I take these time- and energy-saving machines for granted so much. I’ve never had to wash my own clothes. I’ve washed my own dishes, but with water from my kitchen faucet. I’ve never lacked access to hot water, the best for getting something really clean, killing whatever bacteria might be present.
During my stay in Uganda, when we stayed at the HopeChest house in Soroti, we were told we could get our clothes washed. So I left some of my clothes to get washed. As we loaded into the van, I saw Joseph, the caretaker of the house, washing clothes with a large bucket of water and a washboard. I’d just assumed they had a washing machine.
Finally, there are three spigots outside the house. With those, I can fill pails, water plants, keep my vegetable garden well-hydrated, and let my kids play.
Right now in Ongongoja, there is no well. During the 2014 Change Their Story campaign, money was raised for a well, but on the day when all the machinery was brought out, they didn’t find water after three attempts. So for now, HopeChest is paying someone to ride a bike every day to the nearest well and bring back gallons of water.
Clean, free from parasites, free from bacteria, fresh and ready for cooking and drinking water.
If you sponsor, thank you for helping to provide these children with clean water. If you don’t sponsor, would you consider it? Just $38 a month ensures good water for these kids. And you can join in the effort to get a permanent source of water for everyone in Ongongoja!
Here is a video of the kids in Ogoloi when their well was first finished!! So much joy!!!