Have you ever really thought about water? As Americans we generally don’t. The next time you are in the store, whether convenience or big box, check out the water isle. I bet your will find spring, glacial, ionized, de-salinated, sparkling, flavored, vitamin and even smart. In Africa they have two kinds, dirty and clean and honestly the latter is very hard to come by in most areas.
Today we hit the road with one of Global Benefits partners, Living Waters International. Their mission is to provide clean water and a sanitation message to those around the world without. Currently, according the Rwanda country director, they are in approximately 25 countries internationally. Our goal was simply to travel to a village outside of Kigali and tell the story of water in a typical Africans life. Our first stop was a water source that you or I would easily dismiss as a mud hole. Very little water movement with a large muddy pool surrounded by cow patties. It lay in a fertile valley between two very steep hillsides. When we approached there was no there but the our Living Waters host said this was spot were many people from the surrounded villages would get water. Without anyone around I though it hard to believe that this was a main water source. Perhaps just a few of the “less fortunate” retrieved their water here. Typical an American view.
Without anyone at the swamp, we decided to take a drive up to the top of the surrounding hill where there was a village. I was picturing a few isolated huts and few people. As we approached an entire town appeared before our SUV and people just seemed to materialize. This is a common occurrence in Africa not matter how remote you think you are. We met a very gracious woman named Jackiline and her four beautiful children. She has lived in this area her entire life. Apparently the childrens father "just left" sometime ago which is a common occurrence in Rwanda. Her well maintained house is comprised of a small yard and a single steer tied up in a small corral in the back. I was interested in her water story. I didn’t want to dramatize the agony of the African people walking miles, uphill both ways, to retrieved water. I wasn’t looking for malnourished kids with fly’s on the faces. Just her story of water.
|Mark Warren, founder of Global Benefit with Jackiline and her four children.|