I know what you’re probably thinking: the titles of my posts are usually a little less prosaic (or obvious) in nature. Why the change today? I guess I have been thinking about this particular topic for a while now and think it just needs to be said, plainly, with no room for misinterpretation.
The thing that got me thinking about such a statement goes back to a day I spent in a small rural village in South Africa. The people of the village had access to a public well, but there was not a pump on the well. It basically amounted to a concrete cistern. Residents of the village would come with containers of varying sizes to dip water out of the well, haul it to their homes, and use it to wash with, cook with, even drink. The well itself was loosely covered by a simple sheet of corrugated metal. The sheet of metal didn’t do much to keep contaminents out of the water. Watching the residents collect this water without even batting an eye was quite sobering. And, in that moment it really hit home for me the desparate need some people have for access to clean water.
Think how different our lives would be if the water we used everyday was mildly to severely contaminated. It would drastically reduce our quality of life.
Take it one step further. Think if the water we had access to, say at a public well, was clean. But, consider how different our lives would look if even though the water we had access to was clean, we still had to travel to get it. If the clean water was not piped directly to our individual homes but rather we had to walk a mile or two each day just to fetch that (clean) water. (I met a woman in that village who came three times a day, from about a mile away, just for water. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for much else.)
Take it even another step further. If there is no infrastructure in place within a community that will deliver water to individual homes, how would a community ever be able to attract businesses or manufacturing companies which would provide jobs? Places such as factories need water to accomplish their work, even if it only amounts to proper sanitation for its workers. Without stable employment, even having access to a well that provides CLEAN water will always only serve as a mere band-aid.
Now, to be sure, I promise, I am not trying to make the problem seem so enormous that we would question the value of even trying to make a difference. My purpose in drawing attention to these details is simply to raise awareness (I know, that’s a favorite activity of mine – raising awareness…). And, not only that, but to remind us that we need a variety of different people coming at this big picture problem from a variety of different angles.
As you ponder the multitude of issues across the globe, I encourage you to “tip the rock over” to discover how many more layers there are to consider, not in order that you would feel discouraged or overwhelmed, but simply to add depth to your understanding of the matters of the day. This is the first step in bringing hope to the world.
Blessings to you this day, my friends.