It is early in the day, and I have already lost count of how many times I have needed to use water. so far, I have needed water to brush my teeth, bathe, prepare breakfast, drink coffee, and quench my thirst. With the various tasks that make up my morning routine, I hardly ever stop to think, “Is this water safe to consume?”
I don’t question if there will be enough water to fill my cup. I don’t have to travel a long distance to access my water, and I never wonder if my short walk to the tap will be dangerous. For millions of people around the world, however, these questions can mean the difference between life and death.
Everything begins with water.
Access to safe drinking water affects our health, our sanitation and hygiene practices, our education, justice for women and children, and almost every other area of our lives.
In Muhaza, located in remote Northern Rwanda, the children had to collect water from a difficult and distant water channel. The hills of Rwanda made this very hard since it took a lot of energy due to the high terrain where the water is located. Children suffered from diseases caused by dehydration and dirty water consumption.
Today, one water point has been extended to Muhaza, providing the three villages of Nyabisika, Murehe and Muramba with safe and clean water. This has helped children gain hope for a healthier future due to safe water accessibility. The water tap was constructed near the health post. This not only serves the health post with water, but most importantly, it offers a model for training the local people about sanitation and hygiene, such as handwashing before eating, regular body sanitation and more.
Lambert, a 13-year-old 6th grader, happily draws water from the new water tap with other children from his village. Now that he and his mates have safe water nearby, they can focus on learning and enjoying their childhood. Before he used to walk nearly an hour to the old water source. He helped his family by walking every morning and evening, causing him to arrive at school late most of the time. Arriving late meant he missed precious class time and led to his poor performance.
The new Muhaza water tap means that Lambert and his community now have safe water to use for their daily chores. They have been empowered to advocate for better sanitation and hygiene practices in their community in collaboration with the health post, which was constructed through World Vision support.
"Safe drinking water and coming late to school isn’t something to worry about today, as long as this water tap is existing. My worry is our neighboring villages, which do not have a water tap like this one," says Lambert.
Lambert is fortunate to have his school be his focus again. When I look at Lambert and remember my own ever-present water tap, I realize the clean water is a precious resource. It’s my reminder to never take it for granted.