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The water project

Friday, June 7, 2013, by James Lietner
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I walk 20 steps to get a glass of clean, clear water. Not everyone is this lucky. Some people walk over 3 miles to get dirty water that is filled with diseases and harmful, heavy metals. During this long walk, women carry over 45lbs of water and risk being attacked by soldiers or wild animals. Mostly women or young children are responsible for obtaining this dirty water; as a result, children miss school and the opportunity for a proper education.

I had a chance to Skype with a very excited 8 year old named Uzuri, which means beauty in Swahili. Her village is in Kowak, Tanzania. Her village only has one computer and one telephone, yet Uzuri was given the chance to talk with me by using her father as a translator.

She told me she walks with a big yellow jug to a river which is their closest water source. She has missed attending over half of her 2nd grade classes because she spends many hours going to this river. Uzuri told me a story about her classmate who passed away from a disease known as dysentery.

Before we hung up, Uzuri expressed that she really wanted to see me again because she had never used a computer before and she wanted an excuse to use one again. We planned to Skype again in 2 days, on March 13, 2013.

I got on Skype that day and was met only by Uzuri's father. He averted his gaze from the camera and from my eyes. Without tearing up, he somberly told me that Uzuri went for water the day following our Skype conversation and never came back. Search parties could not find her; no one knew if she was taken by soldiers or eaten by a lion. This was not the first time this has happened, nor will it be the last.

This tragedy could have been avoided if there was a closer water source.

My goal is to build clean water wells much closer to the village. This will help stop village members' disappearances that stem from the long journeys for water. Cleaning the water using a filter will help make it clear and reduce villagers' chances of death from harmful bacteria. Children could go back to school instead of walking miles every day during class time.

By spreading awareness, this idea can become a reality very soon. Welcome to The Water Project. 


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