Water, water, everywhere- but not a drop to drink.
Likely, if you are reading this- you have not had to consider anything to do with water today.
Not that 71% of Earth is covered in it. Not that you are made up of about 60% water.
Not if you would have enough to fill your water bottle (if you are using a reusable bottle that is)- not if you would be able to shower this morning or tonight (or both)- and I doubt you considered if brushing your teeth with water presented the chance of an illness from a bacteria present.
And this is not to make you feel bad, not in the slightest.
This is just a gentle reminder that thoughts about water, clean water, dehydration, illness- are not uncommon among some of our world's most vulnerable .
There is an incomprehensible amount of individuals and populations either lacking access to affordable and clean water, or lacking access to water at all on our planet, today in 2020.
As a non-profit we hope to shed some light on this issue- starting with the international partnership we have had with a rural community in Biteriko, Uganda.
Here is a powerful experience shared by our Vice President Larissa who spent a considerable amount of time nursing in Haiti and Uganda.
Growing up I never thought twice about the ease of water. How quickly I could have a hot bath ready or the endless streams of drinking water flowing from every tap in the house. For most people around the world, this is only a dream that will likely never come true. While I lived in Haiti and Uganda, the stark reality of how difficult it is to access clean, safe water really hit me. Children are seen walking the dirt paths with empty 5L jerry cans at the break of dawn when their small shadows are all you can see. They walk up to an hour one way to find the nearest stream of clean water or community well to get the water they will need to get ready for the day. They will then, usually with the help of someone older also fetching water, will get the heavy jerry can onto their head to make the journey back. This path is usually walked multiple times a day by each household to get enough water for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing and laundry.
Despite water coming from the well, it is not always safe to drink. Contaminated soil, old rusting pipes and dirty jerry cans are hidden sources of further contamination. Despite numerous efforts to provide education regarding boiling water or adding safe drinking tabs to water, waterborne illnesses were inevitable. I cannot count the number of phone calls I received at any hour, of our grandparents in the community being too weak to care for their families due to vomiting and diarrhea. Which then led to the children trying to help and prepare the food but would unknowingly use contaminated water perpetuating the illnesses. It seemed to be a never-ending cycle.
The weather in Uganda is either hot and dusty or monsoon rainstorms washing everything out rending the roads impassable. There rarely seemed to be an opportune time to get enough water. Drinking water to stay hydrated is the last thing on most people’s minds.
Dehydration was terrifyingly common and at first it seems like not that big of a concern. But think further with me for a moment… dehydration will cause horrendous headaches, unnecessary stress on your kidneys too often resulting in brutally painful kidney stones, constipation and continual weakness. All of which are relieved by drinking water.
What choice do you have though when water is so difficult to come by?
-Larrisa Lee, RN
Our Commitment and How You Can Help
With our participatory philosophy in mind, as a non-profit it is essential that we are keeping our finger on the pulse with our community members in Uganda. Clean water is a need. The United Nations has declared it as Sustainable Development Goal #6: Clean Water and Contamination.
Therefore, we will be locally sourcing Aqua Tabs, which is a safe, portable and effective water purification strategy to help ensure our global neighbours have an easier access to safe drinking water.
As a thank you to your kind donation when you purchase a sweater from our store, not only will you be warm in our crew necks, but you will be providing many individuals with clean water that might other wise not have access.
What will you do today, to be the change in our world for a better tomorrow?
Follow us on Instagram to stay up to date on all our latest!
Written by Larissa Lee RN & Marnie Colborne RN