Filling buckets with water on my trips back and forth from the Pacific Ocean to the sandy beach last week, I couldn’t help but think of the recently attended fundraiser for Charity:Water. (www.charitywater.org) We live walking distance to the Puget Sound and often vacation to the Oregon Coast. Water surrounds us. It calms my soul when I look at it and rejuvenates my being when I drink it. Building a sand castle with my children is easy work that brings me much joy.
At the fundraiser, I learned about the women and young children who carry buckets of water from dirty streams in 40 gallon containers back to their villages. The round trip journey takes hours. I fill my children’s small buckets with ease, dumping out some water if it’s too heavy. Whatever leaks out of their containers is lost drinking water for their families, lost cooking water. If I need more water for the castle’s mote I just take another trip, forty feet to the ocean, with my one gallon bucket.
At home I fill my dog’s dish of water numerous times throughout the day, dumping out the “dirty” water, tainted with a fleck of dirt or strand of dog hair. The people in Ethiopia live off water far dirtier than a fleck of dirt, a dog hair or two. Brown water is their sustenance. They drink and cook from the same water others bathe. They don’t get it from a faucet, from a snow fed clear running stream. They don’t take twenty minute showers like my son. As he sits in the tub, playing with his horses, he enjoys the feel of warm water running down his back. We fill our glasses without a thought. Water our garden without hesitating. Water, often my drink of choice is within my reach.
Instead of pouring unused water down the drain I train myself to pour it in a plant. I take a shower every other day and cut my children’s time splashing in the tub down. So easy to take all this abundance for granted. So easy to forget that others don’t have this luxury which should really just be a basic fulfilled necessity.