Last Thursday was forecast to be very hot : 40 C (104 F). I wondered if I should skip my walk to the post office to collect our mail, but it wasn’t too windy, so I went anyway. I wore thongs/flip-flops, a loose shirt, and a pith helmet to keep the sun off (hey, pith helmets are cool ). I filled a bottle with water, and set off a little after 10, with the temperature already at 32 C. When I came home, 45 minutes later, it was 36 C (96.8 F). HOT. Going wasn’t too bad, but the home stretch proved a bit of a struggle.
And as I gasped my way along under the burning sun, carrying a newspaper, three letters and a depleted water bottle, it occurred to me that even little kids in Africa have to walk much further than this, no matter what the weather is like, just to collect water for their families. They carry heavy containers, and they don’t spill any. Maybe they leave home at a more sensible early hour, but the fact remains, for the thousands (if not millions) of people who don’t have ready access to clean water, a long walk in heat, wind, whatever, is a daily necessity, and the water they carry is a far heavier load than I could manage for any distance. Often the wells and waterholes they collect from are a hazard in themselves.
Yesterday’s walk to the post office yielded a letter from UNHCR, ( The UN Refugee Agency), asking for donations. $432 can install a community tap stand with six taps, providing safe, clean water to hundreds of families living in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia, the second biggest refugee camp in the world.
Oxfam sink wells , providing safe, clean water for villages in many different countries, wherever they can. Easy clean water means not only health, but the opportunity for education for children living in poverty. If you are reading this, you may well be planning your Christmas shopping list. Consider adding a few of the world’s poorest to your list, with a donation to UNHCR (unrefugees.org.au), Oxfam(oxfam.org.au), or one of the other NGOs that desperately need donations from people like us in order to carry on their work.
You may not have a spare $432 ( I don’t!), but every little bit helps. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a few more billionaires decided to share some of their vast wealth with the poorest members of the human family? Now that would be a Christmas present!