Have you ever had to brush your teeth using bottled water? Or make sure your mouth is sealed shut while showering so no water drips get in? I have. A few trips we have taken required our dependence on bottled water to avoid “travelers diarrhea” and other diseases, including Thailand, Mexico, and most of all Africa. Not only could we not drink the water (or ice), but we had to make sure not to eat any fruit or vegetables that we didn’t peel ourselves.
After a week climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, we ate lunch with our guides and porters and a “restaurant.” It didn’t look like any kind of restaurant we have in the states. We ate ribs from cows… But I saw the cows in Africa and they are so skinny you can see their bones. Along with the ribs were cucumbers, which I avoided because they would’ve been washed with unclean water. Jeff, however, had a brain lapse and began eating the cucumbers until I elbowed him and gave him a look. Not wanting to be rude, we didn’t make a big deal about it. He only consumed a couple small slices before realizing his mistake, and he was ok.
We recently returned from Cancun, Mexico where we also had to avoid tap water. However Cancun caters to tourists, so often the hotels and tour companies are equipped with purified water. But even the dependence on bottled water and making sure I had enough for the day and night, created a little anxiety in me. I am used to drinking 80-100 ounces of water a day! I’m constantly refilling my water bottle at home. Being in Mexico made me a little nervous… what if I can’t get enough water? What do I do?
The trip served as a reminder to me of the luxury I have living in America and having an abundance of clean water flowing from my faucets – every faucet. I shower in water clean enough to drink. I flush the toilet with water clean enough to drink. Meanwhile people all over the world walk miles to collect water which is unclean and causes disease.
According to CharityWater.org, “Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. 90% of the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are in children under five years old.”
On Friday I turn 33 years old. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than helping meet actual needs for people, like clean water. Would you consider donating $33, or any amount, to Charity : Water and help me end the crisis of clean water? My goal is to raise $1,000 and right now every donation is matched by one of Charity : Water’s generous donors.
Clean water for all global citizens would cost $9 billion. Sound impossible? Annual US and European spending on perfume is $12 billion. Maybe if we realign our priorities we can make a real difference and save people’s lives. Join me by giving people a better life by giving them clean water. Donate today at Charity : Water.