Hartford women walk for water
Tireless hours of planning and prayer had been spent and countless invites had been sent out in hopes for our chapter’s recent Walk for Water event to be a grand family occasion in both attendance and education. As the hour came near, our hopes plummeted as it became, well – a Walk IN Water. IT RAINED…and pretty much rained us out.
Because we didn’t know what the weather had in store for us or who might still show, we still held the walk. Through the drizzle you could see what could have been in our education of WHO HAS CLEAN WATER as the walk went like this:
• You started at a hut, where you learned some basic facts about water issues and received a bucket to start your journey.
• You passed two water sources along the way – each with different posters. One poster was about sewage that is in many water sources of the poor and the other poster detailed the many diseases found in dirty water…and deaths.
• Along the journey you met a woman dressed in African attire. She told you her story – what it is like to walk long, often dangerous roads several times, in heat, in sickness and health, to get water that made her and her family sick.
• You learned at a table that outlined all the safety that a local American town goes through to keep their aquifers and sewage water safe and clean – the regulations they are required to go through (and that bottled water isn’t required to go through). You learned about bottled water – its pollution, its effect on the poor, and the lie that it is better than tap water in any way. You learned about the money that goes to bottled water…and yet how much less could give clean water to all those without.
• Eventually you ended up at the river with your bucket. Someone helped you get some water. You would feel lucky that your bucket is only about 5 pounds and it only took you ½ mile, but you feel the weight of 40 pound jugs that most women carry for 2-4 miles. At that stop, you watched “Walking in Sabina’s Shoes” – a World Vision video. You would close your eyes and chose a piece of paper from many….these papers represent 1 of many different outcomes that your water might bring into your life – perhaps disease, perhaps no illness this time, perhaps your paper told you that a well is coming to your town soon. You feel only slightly the gamble of dirty water. You began to walk back.
• On your journey back, as you carry your small bucket of dirty water, you passed a table that highlights all the possible solutions to dirty water. It highlights some of the amazing inventions that have been made to clean water from The Water Straw to water filters to the Hippo Roller and more. You drink your river water filtered and it tastes clean. However, it sinks in that all of these inventions still require the long walk to water. No invention, but a deep well, actually gives you your life. You hear more about community development and child sponsorship.
• At the end of the mile walk, you engaged with resources and next steps of clean water – learning more about Women of Vision, and other book/DVD resources. You could read about many kids, youth, adults – ordinary heroes JUST LIKE YOU – who have done amazing things to give clean water to people far away. You could choose one action to respond.
This was the vision – this is what a few families braved in the dreary weather and our hearts were sad there weren’t more to engage it. However, we will not be rained out forever! As we remember other chapters as they have persevered through being small chapters and encountering difficulties, it was amazing to hear the women standing cold in the rain while planning for the next Walk to be bigger and better. They concluded that this was just a dry run (or wet run as it were). We were blessed to have a couple of new, dynamic women come join us in the rain who we hope will join us again. Let’s be honest – the kids had a blast in all of it!
One highlight for me is the unique call that a fellow woman in our chater, Kerrie Gregory, had to this event. Kerrie and her four kids walked down to a river throughout the Lenten season (even in the snow) in education and honor of those who don’t have clean water. It had a deep impact on their family. It was very inspiring, therefore, then to see her and one of her daughters as the greeters to our walk, no matter the weather.
Just as Blood Brothers find their unity in spilling blood together in battle, so perhaps we become Water Sisters in sticking out the rainy days together as women with a common goal. So, we will Walk for Water another day! Today – our clothes (and perhaps our pride) are still drying a bit.
by Anna Goodworth, WOV Hartford, CT