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“Holy mother of Moses, Megan, that’s horrible,” you’re thinking to yourself. Too much water washes waste and chemicals into the wells, causing child death and widespread ill health. Not enough water leads to poor hygiene (and accompanying illness), as well as hardship for families who are forced to pay through the nose from “water sellers” or pull children out of school to walk many miles before dawn to collect it from distant sources that have not yet run dry, all just to water their crops and cook their food.

So what am I doing about it?

Well, a bunch of stuff, as I alluded in past entries. I continue writing the microteaching seminars I mentioned earlier this week, and those are (theoretically, with some margin of error) given five times a week at the clinic where I’m based. I’m working with a handful of different schools and organizations locally that are interested in developing new water points to reduce their dependency on purchased or piped water. I do well visits and inspections with my community counterpart, provide education about how to maintain a safe/clean well, and assist in building community councils to continue these efforts. I teach about water cleanliness and hygiene near the beginning of every health class I work with. I assist and encourage student projects at home and at school. I teach students about the importance of handwashing and train faculty in the production and placement of leaky tins. I work with AMREF in developing new water access maintenance projects. I helped one school develop (and complete) a water storage tank project. I’m helping two separate schools develop “water catchment systems,” or series of gutters that will harvest rainwater from the broad tin roofs of classrooms to store in the aforementioned tanks. I talk to my friends and neighbors about how to safely store water in their homes. I never use more than a few liters a day for bathing (and oftentimes go without.)

Among other things.

What can YOU do?

Well, to start with, you can ditch the bottled water habit and become more careful in your consumption of water (how often do you REALLY need to wash your car? Is a 25-minute-shower really necessary?) You can do your part to slow or halt global climate change and encourage conscientious water stewardship among your colleagues and neighbors. You can educate YOURSELF about developing world water issues, then pass that knowledge on to friends and family members and coworkers and strangers on the bus and everybody everywhere all the time until it reaches critical mass and people start caring. On a more concrete level, you can keep on eye on this blog, where I’ll be posting fundraising announcements eventually when some of these project proposals gets off the ground. In the meantime, if you have $10 or $20 or $100 lying burning a hole in your pocket begging to be used for altruistic purposes, you can visit Water Charity, a non-profit that helps Peace Corps Volunteer-led projects towards better hygiene and water access in the developing world.

As I’ve said before on this blog, none of us has that power as individuals to “save the world” (a phrase I hate more and more on a logarithmic curve the longer I’m in Peace Corps.) But if every person does some little thing … well, heck. That’s a start, right? A solid beginning is all we can really hope for.