In March, I received a note from UNICEF USA, with my favorite video about access to clean water. I thought immediately of my poem in Water Runs Through This Book (page 40). Every time I read it, I feel a sense of how real it is for this child, these women, that water is life. For so many children walking for water means no education, no chance to learn, to rest, to play.
Walking for Water
Add up all the miles women and children in one country, one,
Walk for water,
Sixteen trips to the moon and back,
Nancy Bo Flood
In their note, UNICEF asked: “How long does it take you to get a cup of water? For Aysha, a 13-year-old in Ethiopia, it takes eight hours. Eight hours every day, Aysha walks on her own through the desert heat to find water for herself and her family.
“Waking before sunrise every morning, Aysha begins her solitary journey to the closest water source. After an eight-hour trudge, she returns to squeeze in whatever studying she can before starting on her nightly chores. This is Aysha’s life. There are no days off, there is no relief.
“Aysha is not alone in the burden of water.
“It is dangerous — girls must travel alone to remote water sources. It is oppressive — this is time that could be spent on education, working toward a better future. It is unfair. Across the world, many girls are carrying this water burden alone.
“Water is unfair, but it doesn’t have to be.”
Water is precious. Water is life.