Every day, 2,000 children die from diarrhea caused by unsafe water. World Vision is the chosen implementing partner of Flash Flood for Good, a social media movement to bring clean water to children. Join the movement!
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When I traveled to El Salvador with my church two years ago, the missionaries we worked with and their staff went to great lengths to keep our team protected from a host of threats.
There were the obvious ones, like crime and violence, and aside from someone breaking into their center and stealing the safe that held our passports, they succeeded in that regard. But there were also unseen threats, like bad water. They knew our bodies were susceptible to what their water contained, so while not convenient, they protected us at all costs.
They constantly replenished our water supply. We walked most places or crammed 20 sweaty, smelly people in a 15-passenger van when we did drive. We had team members chasing children, working under car hoods, cooking in small kitchens using wood-fired ovens, and playing soccer — all day. In short, we were hot, thirsty, and tired, so the cool sensation of clean water on our tongues traveled down our parched throats to refresh our tired bodies like nothing else.
Because of that, we sometimes drank too much water and ran out, but the staff always made extra runs to the store to immediately get more.
They would also rise hours before everyone to wash, multiple times with purified water, all the produce they would serve us for meals that day. And after every meal, they used boiled and purified water to painstakingly wash each utensil, plate, and pot, ensuring not a single microbe would harm their guests.
As a result, none of us got sick. Well, I may have eaten one — or 10 — too many greasy pupusas, the traditional dish, which led to a not-so-pleasant first night there — but the water didn’t do me in.
But two years later, I now work for World Vision, and I read stories about people who aren’t protected from dirty water’s diseases.
Take, for instance, Kuma in Ethiopia. Kuma has trachoma, a disease damaging his vision that’s caused by a lack of water. The water his family does fetch three times a day is brown, and animals defecate in it. Once, Kuma accidentally swallowed a leech that was in the water and had to go to the hospital. As if his own health issues weren’t enough, add the emotional anguish of his little, 20-month-old baby girl dying from a waterborne disease.
Families like Kuma’s don’t have a team replacing their bad water with good to protect them. They can’t wash all the bad microbes from their food and dishes. And the water they drink doesn’t refresh their desert-like throats or run coolly through their body, refueling them. It attacks them, makes them sick and, sometimes, kills them.
My stomach churns when I read these stories.
But I also get excited about solutions, like the upcoming Flash Flood for Good campaign.
You see, President Bill Clinton, and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, with Procter & Gamble, recently visited a World Vision community in Rwanda. They were able to see the impact we’re making by reaching a new person with clean drinking water every 30 seconds.
On Sept. 24, the Flash Flood For Good Campaign will be launched at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York City. This starts a 72-hour social media “flood” of tweets and posts from celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Colbie Caillat, Morgan Freeman, and many others with a simple message: join the flood, give $10.
Just $10 can give a child clean drinking water for a year. One way World Vision makes that happen is by using P&G water purification packets. All the money that Flash Flood for Good raises will go solely toward World Vision water programs in some of the most-needed communities in the world. These packets transform water from brown, contaminated, and potentially deadly into clear, clean, and healthy water in minutes. They can protect children and families from waterborne diseases like dysentery, diarrhea, worms, and cholera. Simply put: these packets can save lives.
My missionary’s team protected me, and while you and I can’t be there physically to protect people like Kuma, we can still help protect them by joining the flood. As soon as I heard about it, I signed up through Facebook, and now that you’ve heard, I hope you will too.