Turning appreciation into action: Uganda 2012

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Based in the Great Lakes region in the United States, Drink Local. Drink Tap.© (DLDT) realizes that reconnecting to local water wealth is critical in creating the foundation for people to “wake up” to water. The entire planet is covered with water, but only 3% is fresh, and .3% of that is available to drink. Having 20% of all the fresh surface water on the planet, the Great Lakes Region is very wealthy in water. This is something that is forgotten or unknown, even in the region itself.

 

DLDT knows that it is important to appreciate the water we have in the developed world, but it is equally important to give back and help others who do not have a toilet to flush or a tap to turn on everyday. That is exactly why the Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda project was designed; we have turned passion and appreciation into action.

Imagine, for a moment, what it’s like to not have safe or reliable water access. You are living in the biggest drought your country has seen in 60 years and you are 11 years old. You are an orphan, in a developing country with no reliable electricity, no medicine in the hospitals that exist kilometers away, unpredictable rainy seasons, and no running water. Each morning, you wake up to the cold moist air and head down the path with your yellow jerrycan to the first borehole or well you can find. As you walk, your stomach is empty since you had no dinner or breakfast, or maybe you have marlaria and feel sick throwing up along the way. The ground is cold on your barefeet and all of a sudden you scream- a fire ant has found your toe!

 

Once you pull the fire ant off and stop shedding tears, you continue on your way to get water hoping no one is waiting in the bush to take advantage of you and that no snakes are guarding the water source when you arrive. You get to the first borehole. It is hard to pump 30 times to see if there is water that day; there is none. So, you begin your (hopefully) 5 miles round trip trek to the next borehole only to find a line of people and you must wait. The adults, well, they may push you to the side and you may have to wait longer.

 

Once you pump your 10-20 liters (2.64-5.28 gallons or 16-40 pounds) of water, you shove a reed in the opening of the cans and continue your journey back to your “home”. Your home may be on the floor at a school or the floor of a nice villager’s hut. After two hours of searching for water on a hungry stomach walking on cold, hardened feet, you must boil the water to become safer. You can’t boil it though; you will be extra late for school and you have no paraffin or kerosene to heat it-that costs too many shillings. So, you pour some of your jerrycan into a benson (bin bucket) and use this to brush your teeth, bathe, drink, complete chores, wash your clothing, and later use it to cook your meal and water your garden where you grow some of your own food and share it with friends in need. Then, you repeat after school using all of the daylight hours provided by your location on the equator 6:30am-6:30am.  If you are a female attending school and cannot properly clean yourself for that special woman’s-week of the month, you must miss out on the classes and obtain a less than equal education to the boys.

At St. Bonaventure school in Mulajji Village, Uganda, this is the life of an orphan.

Each day children wake up very differently than people in the United States. Over 1.1 billion people on our shared planet do not have access to safe drinking water and more people have cell phones that access to a toilet.  Unfortunately, there are many people who have not awakened to this world water crisis; it’s hard to do so when you are able to flush a toilet or use the tap everyday. This inspired to DLDT to organize itself and live the mission of “creatively” reconnecting people to local water around the globe through art, education and film. Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda tells the story of appreciating local water in the developed world and people giving back, providing safe and sustainable access to water to St. Bonaventure school. To DLDT, saving water means saving lives and in the U.S.A., we all have the power to do both.

To wake the world up to water, DLDT teamed up with LESS Productions, Inc. and Elbee Studio and to complete a journey across the globe in July 2011 and June/July 2012 to begin telling the story of sharing the water wealth of the Great Lakes Ugandan orphans in need.  Our watersheds are global and all life is connected through water; it’s our mission through this portion of our water film series to raise awareness about world water issues and inspire people to act both locally and globally to care for each other through water.

Become part of the story today and give back.

Teaser Trailer: http://drinklocaldrinktap.org/projects/film-making/