Safe Water

Where I come from water is never scarce. It rains nearly every day, we are surrounded by an ocean, it flows out of our taps, and often we begrudge it as it ruins our shoes or soaks our clothes. But water is essential to all life. It is used to water crops, to clean our hands, to quench our thirst and as we have such an abundance of it, we take it for granted. While volunteering I travelled to many rural villages where there was no access to clean water. While I was sitting under a tree one day, a women and her child passed me with buckets, they were going to a small stream to collect water, which they were going to use to cook their rice. This stream was covered in green slime and didn’t smell the best, but these people considered it lucky that they even had a stream to get water from. I believe that teaching people about safe water practices will greatly improve their lives and prevent them from getting ill, as many complaints I heard was that they had upset stomachs after drinking this water.   These tiny villages were often surrounded by dessert for miles and travel is hard as there are no marked roads, so they are often neglected by government projects as it would be expensive to develop a water system there. My project involved teaching people the dangers of dirty water, on how to boil the water to make it safe for them and their children and on how to properly wash their hands to prevent the spread of disease. For many people I spoke to, this was the first time they had been taught to boil their water and why it’s important. They were very keen to start boiling it, to keep their children safe and healthy. Everyone was full of questions and happy to learn. We also taught them how to make cheap tippy taps out of household equipment. The children always loved this part, queuing up to wash their hands and to show their friends. Tippy taps are a cheap and efficient way to ensure you keep hands clean, before and after cooking and before cleaning or feeding babies.  Washing hands is such an easy way to stop the spread of disease and to improve one’s quality of life. Improving people’s access to clean water is a sure way to save lives, if you are ever going to volunteer or donate to a charity, please consider a project which helps to provide rural villages with clean drinking water.