Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lenten Challenge, Day 19: Thirst

My first memory of the beach is not one of swimming, or looking for seashells, or feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin. It's of thirst.
My family and I had spent the day at the beach in Florida, and I'd neglected to drink anything all day because I was a kid, and I was too busy building sand castles and trying out my new swim goggles to watch fish. The end of our beach day came, and as I got in our minivan rental, I realized how thirsty I was. I can still feel the dryness of my lips and taste the salt from the ocean when I think about it. I ended up chugging an entire bottle of hot water that had baked in the greenhouse that was our minivan the whole day. It's the first time I ever remember being thirsty.

The older I got, the more I realized how blessed I am to live in a place where clean water is so ridiculously plentiful. I've taken it for granted most of my life...still do sometimes. But a little organization called has helped me see that I am a part of a minority when it comes to clean water. Here are a few stats from their Web site:

More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation, and hygiene-related causes. Nearly all deaths, 99 percent, occur in the developing world.

Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.

Of the 60 million people added to the world's towns and cities every year, most move to informal settlements (i.e. slums) with no sanitation facilities.

780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people.

"[The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns." 

An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.

Over 2.5X more people lack water than live in the United States.

More people have a mobile phone than a toilet.
Sad, isn't it? And ridiculously preventable. Check out their Web site for more info on how you can partner with them to not only quench thirst, but also provide sanitation to the world's most needy.

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