During our week in Ethiopia we couldn’t help but think about water. The water that flowed from the tap would make you sick. And it did. I spent a day sidelined by it. You couldn’t brush your teeth with it, you had to be careful not to drink it while showering, you had to be careful with dishes “washed” in it.
Everywhere we went, even in Addis Ababa, we’d see these yellow containers that looked like they carried gasoline. But they were for water. When we drove to Hossana we saw even more of them. People would be walking along the road carrying them. Donkeys would be loaded down with them. Whenever the road went over a bridge or a depression where there was some source of water we’d see people crowded around a muddy, brown patch of water filling up their jugs. This was their drinking water. At least what came out of the tap in our guesthouse looked clean, even though it wasn’t.
I’ve known all along that this is what happens in places like Ethiopia. People walk miles just to get water, and the water they do get can make them sick. But seeing it is something else. Getting sick from it yourself is a different experience altogether.
They’ll be posting videos and pictures and you can follow along as a community gets clean water. That’s cool. And it seems fitting that it’s happening on Easter weekend.
I love watching this come together. I love seeing children splash in the clear water. I love knowing that those children are not just having fun, but that they’re going to live. Dirty water is such a stupid reason to die.
Now every time I turn on the fawcet or flush the toilet I’m reminded of people like these. As I watch water go down the drain I remember the woman leading the donkey across the landscape with water for her family. As I take a shower and wait for the water to heat up I remember the kids filling their water jugs in a mud hole. We’re grossed out when we see the dog drink water out of the toilet, but the fact is your dog knows where the clean water is.
And so I try to use less water. I shut the shower off when I’m soaping up. I don’t care if my grass is green. I’d rather wait for the rain than wash my car. Even though saving water in Minnesota won’t directly give water to people in Ethiopia, it’s about solidarity.
And I do what I can to support efforts like charity water and the Twestival. Consider donating if you can. And follow along on Twitter (you can follow the organization’s feed or founder Scott Harrison’s feed).
This kind of thing is what makes Good Friday good.