With easy access to clean water, water not only to hydrate our bodies but also to use in cooking and cleaning our bodies, washing our dishes, washing our laundry, it is hard to even comprehend how life would be without it. Noel puts it into perspective when she writes, "Did you flush your toilet today? Just once? You have already used more water than the average African has for an entire day --- for drinking, cooking, cleaning, bathing, washing....everything. Just one flush." (AWAKE, pg.94). One flush my friends. That would give me something to complain about.
If I didn't have access to clean water I'd be cooking meals and washing dishes with water that carries bacteria that could kill my family. Cleaning hands or the many scraped knees that children seem to collect on a daily basis with dirty water? Not a good idea. Can you imagine walking miles just obtain water for your family? Can you imagine walking miles to find only dirty, contaminated water? Having to choose between dirty water or no water? The thought is frightening.
Diarrhoea is caused mainly by the ingestion of pathogens, especially in unsafe drinking-water, in contaminated food or from unclean hands. Inadequate sanitation and insufficient hygiene promote the transmission of these pathogens. Eighty-eight per cent of cases of diarrhoea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene. These cases result in 1.5 million deaths each year, most being the deaths of children. (World Health Organization)1.5 MILLION deaths each year from diarrhea!
"A single sip of water is all it takes to be infected. A single drop of water can contain over 1 billion bacterial organisms." (Yeatts, "Awake"). Among the many water-related diseases are diarrhea, malaria, trachoma, worms and parasites, typhoid fever (600,000 deaths per year), and cholera.
Chapter Seven "Crystal Clear" from World Help on Vimeo.
This morning alone I have taken a shower, brushed my teeth, washed a load of laundry, ran the dishwasher, used water to scrub the carpet under the refrigerator, washed my kitchen cabinets and counters, washed my appliances, ran two pots of water through my coffee maker to rinse out the cycle of vinegar I used to clean it, and now I'm about to add another 12 cups of water so that I enjoy a cup of coffee. Oh, and I've flushed the toilet twice. It's not even noon. I might be a bit mathematically challenged but I think I've used a month's supply of water (or maybe even more) within 6 hours.
So what can I do about the lack of access to clean water in place that seems so distant?
- The first thing I can do is to show gratitude for the fact that access to clean water makes almost every job I do so much easier.
- Become educated and then educate others.
- Find an organization such as World Help which is helping bring water to all corners of the world.
- Pray for World Help and other "water projects"
- GIVE to World Help's Causelife water project. For a mere $15 you could provide water for one person.
Noel Yeatts writes:
"The worldwide water crisis can be solved with 20-30 billion dollars a year. Yet Americans spend $16 billion each year on bottled water alone."
Noel then puts the cost into a new perspective, one that seems to make solving the water crisis obtainable.
"Americans also spend an average of $700 each at Christmas" this equates to $210 billion! "If just half the population set aside $200 of their Christmas spending and put it toward the water crisis, the problem could be solved!" (AWAKE, p.94)
The other day, after reading this, I found myself in a discussion with my mother-in-law about the new football stadium that the Minnesota Vikings want to build. A stadium which will cost $975 million. For a stadium. To entertain not to sustain a society. Oh, but the Minnesota Vikings will cover some of the cost.
"The Minnesota Vikings will pick up the $477 million share of the new stadium that isn’t being covered by taxpayers. "
Well great then. That leaves $498 million that the taxpayers WILL cover. A majority of those taxpayers who won't ever see the inside of that stadium either because of lack of interest or because they can not afford to pay the exorbitant ticket prices yet they still "get to" contribute. I see something very wrong with this and honestly it makes me sick to my stomach. Children are dying around the world from dehydration yet Americans, in their excess, are more concerned with funding yet another venue of entertainment which contributes to a drug-like numbness which allows us to close our eyes to the hurts around us.
What can you do for the water crisis?
REFUSE TO BE NUMB! REFUSE TO KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED!
Let's wake up friends. Let's do something. Anything. For even a small change creates ripples and one life saved is still ONE LIFE SAVED!
And because it's 31 days of praise, let's not forget to praise God for water, for those who are providing water for areas where it is inaccessible, and for those who choose to contribute in any way that they can to create ripples of change. God, thank you for opening my eyes.