by Michelle Wolf It’s difficult to imagine living a life without clean water. In First World countries, clean water is a basic need that is accessible and taken for granted. Clean water is an assumed right. Cities are held accountable for collecting and filtering water before that water enters homes. In places like Niger, clean,… Read more »
by Rita Brhel I live in the middle of America’s heartland — Nebraska — surrounded by a sea of corn and soybean fields, most of which are irrigated for the entire growing season. Even the crops that aren’t irrigated still yield enough to provide the farmer with ample income to live on. I live atop… Read more »
by Rita Brhel Africa is a huge land mass, made up of 54 nations, 1.1 billion people, and some of the most iconic wild regions on earth. Yet, as mind-blowingly beautiful as the pictures in our minds are of the savannas, the Sahara, the rainforests, and the pyramids, our thoughts often turn dark when they… Read more »
by Shelton Owen On March 8th, women around the world celebrated their femininity on International Women’s Day. The special day, observed since the early 1900s, is about recognizing the progress achieved while looking ahead to opportunities of advancement. Women have made great strides in the past century, socially, politically, and economically, but the battle… Read more »
Every morning, I wake up and pour myself a glass of water. It’s what makes me feel refreshed before I start my day.
One morning, I pushed the button on my water cooler to fill my cup, and nothing came out. I was so used to having my morning cup of water that I almost panicked – I suddenly got a sense of urgency and needed my roommate to lift up the five-gallon barrel of water to replace the empty one that sits atop my water cooler. This event made me think about the big water issues around the world today.
This month, Niger’s Foreign Minister made a rather large request of the European Union-one billion euros. This chunk of change would aid the fight to end illegal migration. As a major transit country for those fleeing tumultuous homelands, Niger inhabits an abundance of runaways. The IOM estimates up to 150,000 migrants will cross through Niger this year alone, seeking the Mediterranean Coast. Whether it’s driven by war, terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, or simply the horrendous conditions of some African nations, the EU has been presented with an explosive migration crisis.
The point of the WSJ piece was that “hope” is an emotion that we need more of. It went on to say that hope is a crucial element in our physical and mental well-being. I found it interesting that psychologists found that people who are hopeful don’t just have a goal or wish but a strategy to achieve it. Hope is the belief that the future will be better than the present and that you have some power to make it so.
Gender issues have come into sharp focus in recent years, particularly in Africa. The African Union declared 2016 to be “The Year of Human Rights with a Special Focus on Women’s Human Rights.” Gender was a priority in the Millennium Development Goals and continues to be so in the new Sustainable Development Goals.
I started thinking about the upcoming 7 Gallon Challenge for World Water Day and what might be easy or difficult to cut back on. The easy one for me was fewer flushes a day. Living alone, no one else would be impacted by what sits for a while in my toilet!
Before I actually took the 7 Gallon Challenge, I decided to do a “test market”—going through my day, thinking consciously about my water usage and how it might feel to cut back on certain things. It didn’t take long to discover that the prospect of taking a short shower didn’t feel so great. As I stood under the hot, flowing water for a few minutes, my higher self said, “Enough, turn off the water!” But my body answered, “Don’t you dare!!”
For the week of March 7, Chadwick School’s Wells Bring Hope Club will be doing the Seven Gallon Challenge! Each day, we’ll be able to use only seven gallons of water for all daily activities (e.g. showering, washing hands, brushing your teeth, etc), and we’ll be sharing and reflecting on our experience via Facebook and Instagram. By limiting daily water use and documenting the experience, we (and the people we share our experiences with) will learn how little seven gallons of water actually is. They’ll also become more aware of the difficulty that many West Africans face in getting adequate amounts of water each day, and will learn to appreciate access to water rather than take it for granted.