Bit of a different post today, I want to write on the topic of water.
Have you ever sat back to think, really think, about how much water we use. It’s coming up to midday, and so far I’ve had a glass of two thirds watered down apple juice and by the time I’ve finished this I’ll have had seven cups of tea. I’ve flushed the toilet a couple of times and by now on a normal day, that which is taken over by jet lag, by now I’d have had a shower and done my teeth by this time. This might sound pretty standard amount of water usage, especially in the context of the west, but this is really only a fraction of the water that I’ve used today.
I’ve already been in my kitchen today, the couscous, the peanut butter, and the piece of bread that I had about half ten, have all used water. To grow the produce, to bind them together, and most importantly to clean them of all the bacteria that’s made its home on it. Much of the western world, with exception of those parts inhabited by students, knows that cleaning things reduces the chance of becoming getting ill from the dirty article. Centuries have helped us to build healthy societies through the integration of clean water infrastructure, all we have to do is turn on the tap and away we go.
A couple of months ago my student house was cut off, thankfully momentarily, whilst Seven Trent fixed a burst main that had turned the road into a rough looking waterpark ride. Reduced to just what was left in kettle, made paranoid by soundless toilet as the cistern fails to find what it needs to refill, Water becomes very important. Melodramatic, I know, but we had crisis meetings in the downstairs kitchen, planning out an assault on the local take away if the water was not back by tea time. The phrase that constantly slipped from increasingly dry mouths, ‘makes you think don’t it’.
Makes you think about all those people, for who there are no taps down the corridor. Who walk for miles to the closest water source, which is likely to be no more than a dirty river, like the kind you visited as a kid to feed the ducks. The one you saw people throw cigarettes buts into at the as you fed the ducks on unmalleable white bread that had been placed on the side especially. The brown scum topped river where the detritus of man and nature mingle. It’s so far removed from the diamond shine of the chemically clean cold water from the faucet that you’d never be tempted to bend down and take a swig. Yet, everyday a large proportion of our fellow human beings walk for miles in order to just acquire enough dirty water to get through the day. Originally I used the word live at the end of the sentence above, but somehow that seems inappropriate. Poor sanitation, caused largely because of insufficient access to clean water, is the courses a substantial amount of lives lost across economically developing countries.
Without turning this into one of those interminable day time television adverts where the slow music swells in to a sad crescendo as the answer is presented for you to give a couple of quid a month to charity A to resolve the issues, I’m afraid we’ve reached the crux of this piece. In September I plan to go to Tanzania with the government funded International Citizen Service, in order to actively work on improving the sanitary conditions that local communities face in this part of the World. To do so I’ve got to raise £1500, which will go to the International sustainability charity Raleigh International (about which you can find out more about what there all about here: https://raleighinternational.org/what-we-do/raleigh-ics) to help them to continue their efforts in improving access to clean water for a long time after I’ve returned.
So in the run up to September I’m going to do various fundraising events, and write a couple more post about the topic and my experiences, amongst other things, on here. Before you go and follow my Facebook page, which will keep you keep abreast with such information, I’ve also got a Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Matthew-J-Randall/ . The link will take you to my own personal ICS page which is linked directly to Raleigh ICS. This means that you can donate contently with knowledge that all of your kindly donated money will get to the charity and not end up in the waning beer fund. I hope you can find a little bit in your budget to help me on my way. That’s all I’ve got to say right now folks so I’ll let you go and off to follow and share my Facebook page, which you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/mjricsraleigh2015, which will be full over the upcoming months of details about what I’m up to in regards to this particular project.