Friday, April 22, 2011

Safe Water Project

 Lily totes her gallon of water... some kids chose to carry it on their heads, some on their shoulders.

My kids know something now, that they didn't know last week. They now know how tough it is to walk any distance while carrying gallon jugs of water. They learned this as a a part of a walkathon project to support and raise awareness for the Children's Safe Drinking Water foundation. They were presented with information all about the importance of safe drinking water and how difficult to find it is an many parts of the world. 
As Jamie explained it to me "...even if there is water close by, someone may have pooped in it, and drinking poopy water will make you sick." So the kids of the family are often times called upon to carry the water home from the source. Even little kids as young as 4, carry water for their family.
To get a feeling for how difficult of a task this is, the students were asked to tote gallons of water while they walked laps. The younger kids carried water with a friend for 30 mins. The older kids walked with their water jugs for  6 kilometers... the average distance that children in developing countries are required to walk to find water.
I was skeptical about how the students would react to carrying water, and pretty sure that they wouldn't be very positive about participating. I expected some major push back based on the protests from my own little darlings when I ask them to carry in groceries for their tired old mom. But that was not the case at all... those teachers work serious wonders when it comes to kid motivation. The mood during the walk was spirited and festive and even though their arms were sore, I didn't hear one kid complain about why they were carrying water jugs for miles around the sports field.

It's not everyday that such a lesson of compassion is truly understood. My kids definitely felt it in their arms, but they also had a better notion of how fortunate they are to have safe drinking water readily available. When I asked Jamie about the project he said..."I can't believe that kids have to work so hard just to get water, my arms were killing me!" Ok... I think he got it.

Rosie joined in the walk with her big sibs for a few laps

The middle school students marching for their 6K.