by Nadia Ramoutar MMM Communications Coordinator Ireland 24.07.2022
Currently, there is major construction work going on in front of the house I live in on a road in rural Ireland. I am not a fan. It’s noisy, dusty and there is a temporary traffic light in front of my house that makes noise constant. It is hard to drive in and out of my house because people stop in front of my gate constantly. My two dogs are upset by the heavy equipment noise all day long.
The other day when I got home from work, the water had been cut off without any warning by the construction crew. I was unprepared for the realisation, tired and thirsty.
When the water did come back to the taps, it was dark brown at first and it sounded like the tap was going to explode. The dog took off running into the back garden and hide under a bush for a few hours.
I called a friend who knows about these things. He checked with a neighbour and explained that I needed to let the water run for a while so I did. It went from brown to a silty white. I was not going to even try to get the dogs to drink it.
So, I decided to walk to the local shop and get water. When I put two 5 litre plastic bottles on the counter, the woman at the shop went into a tirade. Had my water been turned off? So had hers and we had no notice. She was far more upset than me.
It’s a longer walk back to my house than I imagined carrying the water. Soon I had to stop and readjust the handles. Did I need to get both, maybe I should have just gotten one? But, when I finally made it home, the 10 litres went very fast. I was amazed how much water I actually use in an evening.
Having recently been in Tanzania, this experience was not lost on me. I thought of the mothers like me who need water for the family and have to get it. They face this dilemma every day. Living beings are dependent on clean water daily. We may not have to eat all day, but we will not survive without clean water.
At the source of all life for plants and animals – including humans is clean water. Yet, for so many people where our MMM Missions serve there is no access. Women and girls can walk as far as six hours a day to bring water to the family. Girls often given the task for getting water in the family are unable to go to school. They literally do not get educated because their role of getting water for the family is more important than having them go to school.
I am painful aware of how privileged I am to be educated all the way through advanced University degrees. But, the pursuit of wisdom is not possible for those with a well far away. I didn’t have to sacrifice my education to get water for the family but as the youngest girl if I had been born somewhere else I probably would have had the job. No one would have ever expected a girl in the Western world to be illiterate to get water. It’s not a sacrifice that seems reasonable, but for many it is not only expected it is demanded. I find myself moved to tears by the injustice of the way geography of your birth can determine your destiny.
It was so easy for me to solve the inconvenience of my water situation. We can’t just turn our back on how impossible it is for families in remote areas to solve their water crisis. We continue to work with communities to solve this problem and we acknowledge the physical, emotional and mental challenge it create. We know that water is precious and so are the lives of the people denied access to it daily.