by Christine Eusebio

{source: Nasa Goddard Photo and Video}

The ever-increasing presence of the internet in the day-to-day lives of people all around the world gives us the sense that our massive globe is not so big after all. However, even as our knowledge of the world expands, our physical existence is necessarily limited, and we can really only see the world through the prism of our own experiences.

The more we learn about ourselves, the more we realize how dependent we have become on the internet and technology. Checking emails is as much a part of our morning routine as brushing our teeth. Without our gadgets, we feel naked — like something is missing.

{source: blaircook}

With this intense focus on technology and connection, and with all of the convenience of our modern society, it is easy to forget that our actual, primitive needs are really very few. While we worry about the hustle and bustle of our daily schedule, while we panic about misplaced smartphones, the people of Niger worry about how they will get what we have in abundance: safe, clean water.

We are just minutes (even seconds) away from our water coolers at work and the filters on our faucets at home, so it easy to understand why access to water something that most Americans never worry about. The situation is quite different in West Africa. The women and girls of Niger have to walk many miles to get water, water that is often contaminated. As a result, they have time for little else, education is an unlikely dream, and 87% of Nigerien women are illiterate.

When a well is drilled, women’s time is suddenly free to pursue other productive activities like farming and raising livestock. These activities allow the women to earn money and provide for their families, an example which creates a positive, healthy atmosphere for their children, especially their daughters.

{photo by Gil Garcetti}

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