The story goes, that many centuries ago, pirates sailed the oceans in search of the coveted “Fountain of Youth”. Rumor was that this fountain had the power to turn back time and sizably reduce your age. Whether or not this fountain was ever discovered and/or if it worked is history, but today we discovered it’s antagonist.
Today’s water walk opened our eyes to the fountain for the youth, a tiny well at the bottom of a 70 degree hill, where children hike 2 to 4 times A DAY to provide water for their families. This walk has turned children into adults, as they carry the responsibility to obtain the water their family needs for the simplest things like cooking and drinking. As our group embarked on our journey down to the filling station, the 17 of us were accompanied by a few other adults, at least 2 dozen village kids who were partaking in the same adventure that we were, (but they really needed this water). We, in turn, were getting this water for other people in the village, a simple act from us that I’m sure means a ton to them.
So we started our walk downwards, carrying our empty jerry cans, a variation between 3 Liters, 5 Liters, and 10 Liters. Safe to say that this was the easiest part of our walk. As we got to the bottom, we saw where we would be filling it up. It’s a little stone structure with about 3 holes with water pouring out. We came closer and saw the competition for the water source, kids slapping each other away so that they could get first dibs of water that is not what we'd consider “sanitary”.
One of the biggest lessons I learned today was how important water is and how much we actually take it for granted. The average American, we learned, uses around 400 Liters of water per DAY. As a group, we carried up 113 Liters total, but for an average Rwandan, 15 Liters is all they use per day. What we think of as an endless supply back home is extremely limited in this country, and in a lot of others as well. So in the end, use what you need, not what you have. For some people what they need is much more than what they have.
|Jerry cans being filled at the spring|