Women and Water
We finally have water! My home town of Fort Worth, Texas experienced a “snowcopalypse” last week. Thousands of people across our state have been without power and water for over a week! We were one of the lucky families and only were without water. .... I was so tempted to whine and moan. But actually, we were never REALLY without water. We had family and friends who just opened their own taps, bathrooms and laundry rooms to us. As I bit my tongue and practiced gratitude my memories of others without water flooded back. It was 2015 when a brave group of gals headed to Guatemala to dig a water well in Santa Clara II for that small village who truly had NO water. As you can see, these gals are fierce – they love big and give big! Women and water.
We still have to boil any water that we use for consumption. Ugh! Poor us! If we take our North American blinders off for a half second, here are a few facts about water in our world today:
884 million people in the world lack access to safe water supplies.
More than 840,000 people die each year from water-related disease.
Almost 2 in 3 people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day.
In many developing countries, millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
Every minute a child dies of a water-related disease.
I like to focus on women in leadership in this blog. It is the women, you know, who make a difference in this world. As the Chinese proverb says: “Women hold up half the sky.” About twelve years ago I was in Arusha, Tanzania with some friends. We were providing a leadership conference for the women of the area. We assumed that we would have to convince some of these women from rural villages where their lives were so hard and full of daily tasks that they actually were leaders. We were wrong. We divided into small groups to have some more intimate conversations. I was honored to have Upendo (which means LOVE in Swahili) in my group. Upendo was the oldest woman attending the conference. When I asked whether any of the women in my group were leaders, Upendo immediately spoke up. “I am a leader of my tribe. I guard our water well.” “What does that mean?” I asked. She began to explain through Mary, my interpreter, that she developed the schedule of those who would take shifts to protect the village’s water supply. She spent time guarding it as well. It was a matter of life and death. Enemies used tainted water as a weapon. Upendo, a leader of her tribe knew the significance of water.
Today I am grateful for water flowing from my tap. I took a shower and washed my hair. Gratitude is the only thing I can think of to help my selfish soul. What about you?