magine turning on your water tap and nothing happening. What would you do if you didn't have water available just by turning a handle marked "H" or "C"?
I composed that opening for my blog on Sunday night as I was lying in bed waiting for sleep to come. Monday morning there was a notice from the city water department on my door when I opened it to retrieve my paper. It said that they were repairing a water main break and they would be shutting off the water from 8:30 that morning until early afternoon. For a large part of the day I was living the situation I described above.
We are truly blessed to have the water system we have. It comes from the work of many people. Others in this world are not as fortunate. Hundreds of millions of people do not have access to safe drinking water. The leading cause of death for children under five years old is diseases from unsafe drinking water. Wednesday, March 22 is World Water Day. A day set aside by the UN to raise awareness of water issues.
While I was in Tanzania I became aware of how much we take our water system for granted. Most nights we stayed at the Lutheran Center in Iringa where we had running water. We also spent a couple nights in staying in the village of Mwatsi where we had 5-gallon buckets of hot and cold water delivered to the guest house in the morning. And no, they don't be a water heater like we're used to. For us to get hot water in the morning it was heated over a fire.
Mwatsi is fortunate to have had a water system that was built by St. Paul Partners (www.stpaulpartners.org), an organization that works to provide safe water and health education in partnership with local communities in Tanzania. Unfortunately, there was a construction accident that cut off water to the taps that were nearest to the guest house. The water they provided to us came from a tap that was about a half a mile away. Then there would be a half a mile walk back carrying the water.
It was a common sight from our bus to see women and children walking to or from water carrying buckets. While we have water available anytime we need it night and day, that's not the case for many people. They carry buckets to their water to be filled. If they're lucky there's a well, sometimes it's a stream. Someplaces the water is clean, someplaces not. Once they fill their bucket they have to take it home. It takes us under a second to get water. It takes them many hours every day.
Someday we will have a world where clean water is available for everybody. It will take a lot of little steps to get there. One that I've seen that encouraged me was at my own church. Shepherd of the Hills' companion congregation Kidamali mentioned that one of their preaching points needed a well for water. So, we started the process with St. Paul Partners and were told the cost would be $4,500. Shepherd decided to devote the offerings taken at our Wednesday Lenten services to this. The response has been tremendous. We should reach our goal to fund the well at Nyamihuu. It is a little step on the way to the goal. I am so blessed to be a part of such a giving congregation. [Update: The goal was reached and surpassed. The extra money will be used to help Kidamali in other ways.]
Whenever you turn on your water, remember how blessed you are.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.