Photos: Esther Havens
Do you take drinking water for granted?
There’s some interesting charitable work in Uganda organized by a non-profit called “Charity: Water” that I just learned about. I caught one of their PSA’s on the Internet the other day, and what interested me was the way it imagined a scenario in which Westerners had to obtain potable water like millions in developing nations: with a yellow water jug, carried across city blocks, traffic, miles–each and every day.
The PSA shows Western families and businesspeople dragging the ubiquitious yellow jugs that you see everywhere in Uganda and Rwanda through the streets of a city like New York. Equally shocking is the dirty water poured into a clean glass at the table of one of these privileged families.
1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water.
Charity: Water’s blog captures much of their daily work, now in Haiti, but one of my favorite posts celebrates the women in northern Uganda who are managing their own water well (over there, it’s called a “bore hole”). I love the way that these photos by the photographer Esther Havens captures the joy and power of these women.
Especially appropriate given it’s International Women’s Month.
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Learn more about how you can help communities like these here.
Filed under: global justice, water, africa, charity: water, drinking water, potable water, rwanda, uganda
January 20, 2010 • 7:15 am
Lake Kivu, Rwanda. Likely one of the most astounding settings I've ever encountered (and a strong counterpoint to our usual imagery of Rwanda)
What does two weeks offline do to you?
Well, for one thing, you slowly lose a sense of the urgency and the false sense of connection that comes with ever-updated information. While I was travelling in Uganda and Rwanda over the past two weeks, I itched–at first–to check my email or to browse Towleroad and The Huffington Post every couple of minutes, as I would back in Boston.
However, after a day or so, the lack of access sinks in. You note how AT&T still sends texts to your iPhone while in Kampala, conveniently tempting you with its corporate marketing, its offers of roaming data usage for $19.95 a minute. Jesus. Who needs unlimited internet access at twenty dollars a minute?
You consider the fact that instantaneous access removes us from human interactions. Over the past couple weeks, we met with a lot of Ugandans, many of whom had lost parents or entire families to HIV/Aids. We listened to stories, we talked about common interests (who doesn’t take joy every once in a while in skipping class?) And after a few days off the grid, you begin to find meaning in cliches like “living in the moment.”
I had 256 emails in my Inbox after one week. Still trying to catch up, to wrap my brain around my virtual task list. Slowly, steadily. Slow but steady.
Filed under: africa, technology, travel, internet, off the grid, offline, rwanda, uganda