One of the most surprising things mentioned in the list of requirements for travel to Honduras are the changes Americans need to make to their daily hygiene habits: Bring two toothbrushes in case you accidentally place one under the running water in the bathroom, put a washcloth over the faucet handles to have a visual reminder not to use the running water and to keep a towel near you to immediately wipe water out of your eyes, nose and mouth in the shower.
Have you ever thought about being able to drink the water you shower in? How you would rinse soap out of your eyes or carefully wash your face if the water from your shower could make you sick?
Across the globe only thirty-eight countries have clean water systems that are sophisticated enough to bring treated water to every part of the house, including the shower. Not one country in the Caribbean or Latin America can stake a claim to this statistic.
In Honduras and Haiti, the people have learned to make do with closed eyes in cold showers. In fact, I’m sure they have probably never thought another way existed.
World Water Week encourages the movers and shakers of the water world to gather and discuss the issues surrounding the world’s water crisis. This year’s theme, Water for Development, “…involves building bridges between traditional sectors and communication, such as water, food, energy, health and environment, as well as across public, private and civil society stakeholder groups.”
This year marks the target year for achieving the Millennium Achievement Goals of providing basic human needs for many in the world. The challenge remains, as new goals will be created this year. Access to potable water and basic sanitation are two of the biggest needs.
The model for Pure Water for the World addresses both elements in a reliable and effective way. The biosand filter is as an easy method of water filtration, removing up to 98% of viruses and bacteria. Latrines provided in communities greatly reduce the occurrences of open defecation, protecting groundwater sources. Filter owners receive thorough education regarding their health and how important their new filter is for the continued development of their families.
Water is step one to bringing communities, cultural groups, and entire countries out of poverty. When adults are healthy they can go to work and provide for their families. When kids are healthy they can go to school and through education, can break the poverty cycle of generations before them.
When your eyes are opened to the concerns of the developing world, you will see how significant opening your eyes in the shower really can be.
Written by Katie Reed, PWW Volunteer