I’ve been online for the last hour trying to find inspiration to write this post which is a day late as it is. Since we work in watsan, it seems like it shouldn’t that hard to write about something that we eat, sleep and breathe (and drink and hand wash with). But I struggle sometimes with this notion of World Water Day.

I love the idea of millions around the world tweeting, texting, facebooking, posting, youtubing, Digging, stumble-uponning, gum-chewing, nose-picking, hair-scratching and generally just bad-grammaring about World Water Day. There’s something beautiful about the idea of solidarity, I suppose when someone with running water 24 hours a day thinks about someone who doesn’t have water. But I can’t shake my sadness that we need a day for this at all. World Water Day, really? It’s like having a day for air or something else that we all need – how ridiculous. Of course, when I did look this up, it turns out that there is a Clean Air Day, a Spare the Air Day and a Clean Indoor Air Day (aka No Tobacco Day). There goes that point.

In an effort to clear my head, I decided to sort through thousand or so pictures on our camera…and stumbled upon these:

Main village canal where villagers bathe and wash their clothes and dishes.

School hand pump









The pictures are from various water and sanitation projects we have worked on. The ones above are from a Bengali refugee camp called RH3 in Karnataka, India. The picture on the right is from Deou in northern Burkina Faso in West Africa.

Kids pulling up turbid water from hand dug well

I feel a little sheepish that I spent time surfing the virtual world for this post when I clearly needed to be targeting my focus on the realities on the ground. The reason this day strikes me as odd is because it’s Water Day EVERY DAY for many in the world. The women and children in Deou spend up to 24 hours in a relay race of sorts to provide 2 jerry cans of water of dubious quality for their family every day. My kids (as I refer to the dozens of children who adopted me during my work in RH3) literally consume shit in their drinking water. And I really don’t have to go as far as this to see dramatic water struggles. Almost every single villager we work with here lists water as their first and foremost problem.

I’ve been behind a computer for 18 hours a day for 3 weeks now. It is not a typical schedule for us, but it turns out that you need to do this if you’re trying to create a website from scratch with no web design background. While we’re excited about the win of the video and the launch of tippytap.org, it’s important to keep what’s important close to us. Our challenge lies in linking the splash of the video win and all these virtual victories to an actual improvement for the communities that we serve. Wish us luck.

And for those of you that are interested (and read this far), Canada celebrates National Clean Air Day on June 8th.




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