Editor's note: Today, March 22, is World Water Day.
It’s been a tough two weeks for the World Vision family. Our 40,000 staff work in nearly 100 countries, so when there is a devastating event in Japan, with its 75 World Vision staff members, it affects our entire family.
The stress level around here has been so high that today I decided to get outside and enjoy a rare morning of sunshine in the Pacific Northwest. I grabbed a mug of coffee for the road, Skye Dog, our Corgi, and drove to a trail I love. We walked four soul-cleansing miles. Ten days ago, we got a new puppy and I thought today would be the perfect day for his first beach walk. Maybe it would help us think of a name for him. So we took Skye Dog and little 'no name' to the closest beach and watched them run, chase ducks, and roll in the sand.
It was a wonderful day. And much of it was made possible by water.
Last September in Kenya, I stayed with the hardest working woman I’ve ever met. Sabina Riwo is only twenty-three years old and has carried water from the river to her home since she was seven. She makes a trip to the river twice a day as she can only pack 70 pounds of water at a time. Yes—70 pounds—on a 100 pound woman’s frame, 70 pounds of dirty water.
Kari Costanza walks a mile in Sabina's shoes in Kenya. (c/o 2010, Jon Warren/WV)
I stayed with Sabina for 24 hours and clocked her water use and down time. Unless she was sleeping, she rested only 12 minutes during the day. The rest of her time was filled with cleaning, fetching firewood, cooking, bathing her three girls in a small basin, and getting more (dirty) water.
During the four hours which I unwound and relaxed today, Sabina carried water. She'll do it again tomorrow. And the next day. Sabina has no time to unwind.
Life without water means life without rest.
Thankfully, World Vision water engineers have created an incredible gravity-fed water system that will soon bring clean water right to Sabina’s front door. I wish I could watch her turn that tap for the first time and see the joy on her face. Sabina’s life will change when she is no longer chained to that river. And part of our World Vision family has helped to make it so.
Today was a much needed respite for me. Thanks to a free flowing supply of clean water, I could relax and rejuvenate for that which is to come -- continuing to work so that Sabina can have water and continuing to pray that my dear friends in Japan will be come through this nightmare.
Watch this video of Kari's experience walking a mile in Sabina's shoes.
Today, World Water Day, partner with us to change even more lives through sustainable solutions for clean water and sanitation in communities like Sabina's.