Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4 - 30 Days of Thanks: Water

On Tuesday afternoon, a construction crew around the corner from our house accidentally cut through a water main. Our water was shut off for awhile and, when it was back on, our water was smelly and discolored for hours. R skipped his bath, we delayed doing laundry, and we drank juice instead of our usual water for the evening. It was a small inconvenience for one night.

Reality check: More than half of Africa's people lack access to safe drinking water.*

I pray a lot when I'm in the shower. In the winter, I usually start my prayers off by thanking God from the bottom of my heart for hot water. Because there is nothing like searing hot water when your toes are numb from cold. In the summer, a cool shower (not to mention a swim in the community pool) changes my whole outlook when I'm sweaty and cranky.

Reality check: The average distance a woman in Africa and Asia walks to collect water is 3.75 miles.*

Today, I am thankful for nearly limitless access to clean, safe water. I turn on the faucet, and it's there. I have water to drink, cook with, bathe in, wash my clothes in, feed to my plants. I even have water to give to my cat and to the birds and squirrels in our yard. To help conserve water, we have a rain barrel, we turn off the water while we brush our teeth, and we try to take short showers, but I know those are just small measures.

Reality check: In developing countries, one person uses an average of 2.6 gallons of water per day. In the United States, one person uses an average of 75-80 gallons per day.*

I promise not all of my 30 Days of Thanks posts will feature me up on my soap box! But I think God has planted a seed in my heart to be aware and conscious of some of the things that I used to take for granted - and to share the tiny shoots of that seed with you.

Thankfulness in Action
*The water facts in this post are from Drop in the Bucket, an organization that builds wells and sanitation systems for communities in Africa. You can donate even just $10 to help provide wells to African schools.

At my sister's wedding last year, I met a fascinating friend of hers that works with Engineers Without Borders. Ruth is a water consultant engineer who travels around the world, working with residents in developing communities to design and build systems to provide clean, dependable water. Although fundraising for her trip to Kenya earlier this year is now closed, you can read more about the project there.

1 comment:

sandwhichisthere said...

Walking four miles carrying at least twenty pounds of water, you are right, something needs to be done. We have so much unused space in this country. I wish that we could bring them all here.
We forget how important clean water and efficient sewage disposal is. They are a blessing brought to us by our forefathers and overlooked by our legislators. The quality of life that we enjoy is measured by so many small things. The forty inches of rain, that we in New England receive each year, would amaze someone from the Sahel.