Clara Herrera is one of our travelers preparing mentally and physically for her trip to Tanzania in a few days. The group will begin by seeing past W2T projects and meeting community members who now have clean water. Then, they’ll begin their trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. Below are some of Clara’s thoughts as she prepares to embark on this journey. You can view the original post on her blog at acidneutral2015.blogspot.com.
Pardon me ma’am, would you like a little feces to go with your water?
I am not thirsty.
I can’t remember ever having been parched, cottonmouth, and unable to quench my palate.
I never worry about my water source. Just go to the kitchen tap or a water fountain, or the ever-present water bottle we all carry around, and drink my fill.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about water a lot, which is kinda weird and isn’t at the same time.
Two months ago, I signed up to help Water to Thrive achieve their 10-year anniversary goal of building 1,000 clean water wells in rural Africa by year’s end.
In truth, I’m really not doing much, just taking pledges while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with a bunch of other Texans to show our support for clean water. Our trips are all privately paid, so any pledges you make go straight to Water to Thrive.
But the whole mental exercise has made me have water on the brain. I’m an elementary school science and writing teacher in real life, so it’s not at all unusual to end the school year drained, parched, and with a bit of hydrocephalus even if it’s imagined and will evaporate by summer’s end.
But, I thought perhaps part of my liquid journey is to learn how fortunate I am, and teach my students how fortunate they are.
No one I know personally has to worry if their water is safe to drink.
I am thankful I’m not one of the 2 billion people that the World Health Organization estimates use a water source contaminated by feces.
I grateful that my students and their families in Austin, TX don’t have to worry if their water will cause cholera, or other diarrhea-related diseases as a result of unsafe drinking water, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Come this fall, I know that my 60+ students will happily enter my classroom with bottles filled with fearless water. My job is to teach. My life is to learn.
There are few things I am certain of in life. Today, there are two that I am.
One is climbing that mountain, and taking these pledges will help at least one African child that I will likely never meet.
And two, I already have a deeper appreciation of water, and my experiences to come will help me teach my students – children more fortunate than those who I will meet in Africa – just how lucky they are. I am a learner, but I am also a teacher.
Aren’t we all?