Why Water


We need clean water everyday to survive, to grow crops, for live stock. The list is long, water is life. Many people, mostly women and girls in developing countries spend hours every day fetching water, (a lot of times contaminated water) to drink and cook with at the risk of rape and or worse. I recently read that in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the majority of rapes take place are on long trips to fetch water. Just one water project in this region reduced the incidence of rape by an astonishing 70 percent.
1 billion people on earth are without safe water. More than five million people die each year from the effects of unclean water. More than 10 times the number killed in war. If that many die, can you imagine how many suffer with related diseases. 60% of infant deaths worldwide are due to water related diseases such as cholera and diarrhea. I always felt that sight was one of our most precious gifts, but without clean water trachoma can run rampant. Trachoma if left untreated can be very painful and will blind its victim, it is common in 48 countries. In 2004, 146 million people were infected and it already had blinded six million people worldwide.

Trachoma is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia Tracheotomies and is transmitted via hands, clothing and flies that have touched an infected persons eyes or nose. The bacterium spreads rapidly in communities where people don’t have enough water to wash their faces and hands regularly.
We are so blessed here in Canada that it is hard to fathom what other humans in the same world go through. One torture of an experience that fills me with compassion and desire to reach out and help is the guinea worm or known as the fiery (fire) serpent a parasite that lives in contaminated water. Once ingested, the worm can grow up to 3 feet long while still inside the body. Once the worm fed on what food it can a lot of times in a mal-nurished body, it works its way down through the body only to break out in the lower extremities. It secretes burning acid to eat a hole in the skin of the host and exit the human body, usually around the ankle area. One woman who suffered with the fiery serpent several times wrote: the area where the worm exits feels like it is on fire and is so painful that you can hardly move. Although it works its way through the human body for more than 3 months it can take a month for the fiery serpent to fully exit the acid eaten area. Also the children are fearful of this living thing inside their body. You cannot pull on the worm. If it broke, it could cause further infection, they tie the spaghetti like worm around a twig and twist it each day. It is a long painful nightmare of a process absolutely unbearable if there is more than one worm coming out from different parts of the body at once. Although it has almost been eradicated, thanks to former President Jimmy Carter and his relentless 20 year campaign to terminate the guinea worm, there were still an estimated 25,000 cases in 2007 according to the world health organization. If we can spare even one person from this fate along with others who suffer from any of the many water born parasite causing disease and illness it will be well worth the mission.