As the mercury rises, we become more aware of our thirst. But how many of us have ever really been thirsty? Imagine if your only source of water was the same pond where you bathe and wash your clothes. It is also shared with goats and cows.
As the mercury rises, we become more aware of our thirst. But how many of us have ever really been thirsty?
Water flows from a faucet in several rooms in every building in America. Huge bottles of water are cooled for our enjoyment. We have bottles of filtered water on hand for every trip out the door.
Imagine if your only source of water was the same pond where you bathe and wash your clothes. It is also shared with goats and cows.
The water is far from clean. In fact it is barely translucent.
But it is the only water for miles … and you’re thirsty, really thirsty.
This scenario isn’t fiction. It isn’t even uncommon. In poor countries, more than 1 billion people have no access to clean water.
According to charitywater.org, 80 percent of all diseases are brought about by unsafe drinking water. Those diseases kill more people each year than all forms of violence – including war.
It is unacceptable in 2010 for people to be without water when a $5,000 well can provide a village of 250 people with clean water for about 20 years.
That belief led to the founding of charity:water in 2006 by Scott Harrison.
Harrison was living an opulent and successful life in New York City. Almost every one of his desires was fulfilled – almost.
“I'd made my living for years in the big Apple promoting top nightclubs and fashion events, for the most part living selfishly and arrogantly. Desperately unhappy, I needed to change,” Harrison said. “Faced with spiritual bankruptcy, I wanted desperately to revive a lost Christian faith with action and asked the question: What would the opposite of my life look like?”
He signed up as a volunteer on a mercy ship – a floating hospital that provided free medical care for impoverished people.
Once he disembarked from the ship into the country of Liberia, he realized how easy he had it even on a mercy ship.
That’s when the seed of charity:water was planted.
Harrison began a campaign to bring clean water where there was none.
Beyond just quenching thirst, the benefits of providing a clean water source to a village include health and hygiene, improved food supply and safety of the women and children who are often assigned the chore of hiking for miles to collect water in cumbersome buckets.
Through the help of private donors who fund the group’s administration and infrastructure, Harrison and the board of directors at charity:water have been able to implement a system where 100 percent of al donations go directly to projects.
So far, they have funded more than 2,500 projects in 16 countries.
Those projects include hand dug wells, drilled wells, spring protection and even rain catchment systems.
They employ the most effective and efficient method possible depending on the climate and terrain where the project is completed.
“The dictionary defines charity as simply the act of giving voluntarily to those in need. It's taken from the word "caritas," or simply, love,” Harrison said. “In Colossians 3, the Bible instructs readers to "put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness." Although I'm still not sure what that means, I love the idea. To wear charity.”
No one person can solve this problem. But everyone can help in some way.
Get some more information about the group at www.charitywater.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charitywater.
No gift is too small.
Every drop of rain that falls contributes equally to the roaring river.
Be thankful for the blessings that we take for granted and do something today to help others be able to enjoy that same feeling.
Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette.