Try and count how many times you turn on the faucet, or take a sip of water in a day.
Now, imagine walking a total of six miles each time you turn on the tap or fill your glass with water from the sink.
It sounds quite extreme, but in the Tana River region of Kenya, it’s an everyday event for the students of Walesorea Primary School.
Without a source of clean water, students walk an equivalent of three miles one way to a giant hole in the ground.
“We let the children leave school early to go and fetch water before the animals arrive,” said Mr. Bute, a teacher at the primary school.
One at a time, a child will carefully make his way onto the edge of the hole and lower himself down tot he first ledge. Then, he climbs onto a rickety ladder made out of a long branch and, with a few acrobatic moves, twists his body to reach down into the small, stagnant pool of water at the bottom.
Bucket by bucket he, along with anyone else who dares follow him into the hole, passes up water to outstretched arms to carry back to the school.
The only evidence of their great undertaking is a few containers full of brown-green water, with chunks of dirt floating near the top.
Full of bacteria and dirt, drinking this water only brings disease, causing bouts of diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, and dehydration. But with no other source of water, this is their only option.
For the past several years, drought has plagued much of the Horn of Africa. Some places have not seen rainfall for two years, raising the current state of water scarcity to an alarming level. The remaining sources of water come from deep underground, such as this hand-dug well, or from a river or lake that has not yet dried up.
The importance of clean water for these primary school students does not go unnoticed. Without it, many of them will continue to get sick.
Find out how you can make a difference in these student’s lives, and provide the life-saving resource of clean water.