|Water is the driving force of all nature.|
Leonardo da Vinci
A couple of days ago, our water was shut off, due to some repairs being done at the main line from the Akosombo Dam. It has happened only rarely since we have moved to our Children's Village, so it was a concern for us when water stopped flowing, especially with over 50 people living here full-time, water is life for us.
It brought me back to our time in Downtown Doryumu. We moved from Tema, a fairly well-developed harbor city, to a village. And despite all of our excitement to finally be closer to our projects here, we faced our fair share of challenges. In Downtown, we only had running water every other week, and even then, since we lived at the far end of town and others had used up much of the water before reaching us, the water pressure was very little and only ran a few days of the week. The days that the water did run, we used it to fill our large polytank outside of our house. For a year, we did not have running water inside the house. The weeks that water did not run at all, we had to track down these huge water tanker trucks and pay for water to come in and fill our tank, sometimes twice in a week. I honestly don't know how we made ends meet as the cost of bringing water in was enormous.
Eventually, water was installed out here at our children's village, though we were not yet finished with construction and buildings were not ready to move into. At that point, the tankers didn't bring us water anymore, but we would come out to the land everyday with our big yellow buckets (that used to hold our cooking oil and palm oil), and fill them up. Occasionally, a bucket would sit for a couple of days before we were able to use the water inside, leaving a green film over the top of the water when it was finally used. So, we'd heat up the water before taking our baths, but let's just say that the green slime didn't add to the feeling of being clean, no matter how much water we used. It did add to the number of rashes and the "Ghana-itch" that pops up during the changing of seasons. You can read more about our time in Downtown here and here.
When the water stopped here just a couple of days ago, I was reminded of that season. I remember moving to our land with no electricity, but so happy to have running water. I said over and over again how I would much rather have access to clean water than regular access to electricity.
Despite the lack of water issue, we are certainly so blessed. Uncle Nosa got the pump for our well up and running. The well water has been unusable so far as it is pretty salty and sulfuric, so even though we are cooking and brushing our teeth with our purified water (another blessing), we can certainly use our well water to take our baths, wash dishes, and clean around the house.
Last night, Kathy and I went out to go get more water (along with our volunteers Jessica and Austin--they certainly are troopers with electricity outages and being without water their first few days!!) for baths. The kids were walking back and forth from their houses to get more water from the well. Kathy carried her bucket of water on her head (while Lucy, Tyna, and Lydia laughed at her), and I carried a couple buckets to the house for bath time. Suddenly, the little inconvenience of being out of water wasn't that big of an issue to me, but an opportunity to laugh with Kathy, to feel just a little bit of the experience that most deal with here in Ghana everyday. We walked along the path made by the children throughout the day, tall grasses brushing against us as we strolled along. Water splashed down over the top of Kathy's bucket, coating her feet in a new layer of mud.
Sometimes what we see as a major inconvenience, knowing that it will be turned back on at some point this week, can help bring perspective. Last night, I actually felt privileged. We are so blessed to have a well on our property. We are blessed that water is only a little stroll away. We are blessed that we have clean drinking water available to us here. We are blessed. We are privileged. And I am grateful.
When I think of the hundreds of people that I have seen here in Ghana without access to clean drinking water...the children who walk for miles to fill large buckets to do even the smallest of things in their homes before school each day, there is no other response than gratitude. We have been blessed. And out of that blessing, we have to be a people willing to lay it all down for the sake of those without.
So, today, when I am carrying my buckets to take my bath, wash dishes, flush my toilet, I will be praying for those in this country that don't have access to water at all. I will be praying for the children that have to fetch water from the muddy holes where rain has gathered. I will be praying for those with water-borne illnesses, simply because they don't have clean drinking water. I will be praying for the many enslaved children on Lake Volta who suffer from Bilharzia because of the polluted water of the lake.
And when you, in the States, in Europe, in Australia, or wherever you are, turn on your tap water tonight, fill up your glasses, take your showers and baths, brush your teeth--will you also pray for the many who are without day in and day out here in Ghana and around the world?