Thursday, March 27, 2008
Issues Affecting African Children #5: In Ghana, Water is Life
It's been a while since the last IAAC post...the closer our teams get to leaving for Ghana, the more busy things become! We can't wait to get back to the children at New Life, and to help them and others!
Today's post is about something I take for granted more than anything else: water. It's so easy in the west to simply turn on a tap and drink straight from it. In Ghana, I had to get used to drinking only purified water-- not too much of a trial. When I was at New Life, they did not yet have running water, though it came while I was there. For the first few months, water was hauled every day from wells by the children. It was not entirely clean, and one of the children had an ulcer on his leg from it. That was the first time I really thought about water beyond something to drink, wash with, and play in. It was life.
Then I traveled to the hot, arid north. In the village of Larabanga, as I was being shown the village, I saw a deep wash-- completely dry-- covered in deep holes. We descended into it, and I discovered that in the rainy season, it was a large pond. Now, in the dry season, it was a dust bowl. Many of the men in the village went out every day to dig and dig until they managed to get a few feet of filthy water. Water was something I had never even thought of as a necessity-- it was just there. Suddenly, I was facing an entire village so desperate for every drop, they spent their days to gain such a meager bucket of muddy water. And they were grateful for it.
While I was there, I happened to see one of the sporadic arrivals of a government water truck. The village went mad. They brought barrels, buckets, anything that could hold water and formed a mob around the truck, desperate for the absolute necessity they were deprived of. A well was in the process of being built for the village, but for the moment, that water truck and the muddy water from the wash were all they had. Water was life-- and lack of it was death.
As the article linked above mentions, even in the metropolis of Accra, water is sometimes hard to come by. Damaged water works are a big problem, and many days, people went without running water. Lack of water for farmers means drought, and therefore less food. This increases prices of goods, upping inflation, a big problem in Ghana at the moment. Water is the absolute basis of life, it affects so many things, and yet so many people live without it. Here are a few places you can go to help: http://www.idrinkbecauseicare.blogspot.com/ and http://www.waterwellsforafrica.com/.