by Kate Cusimano

In these difficult economic times, it is easy to lose sight of the many things we have to be thankful for, but with Thanksgiving just around the corner and the holidays not far behind, now is the perfect time to pause, reflect, and express our gratitude for all that we have.

In working with Wells Bring Hope over the past few weeks, I have learned a great deal about the devastation caused by poverty in Niger and around the world. More specifically, I have realized the tremendous impact that access to clean water can have on a community. This knowledge has provided me with a healthy dose of perspective and filled me with gratitude for all that I have.

Water, our most basic human need, is something that I rarely think about, and this is, in itself, a blessing. According to the World Health Organization, one in six people worldwide do not have access to enough safe freshwater. In other words, water is very much on the minds of the 894 million people on the planet who can’t easily access it. The ramifications of this lack of clean water are devastating – disease is rampant, child mortality is high, women are disenfranchised and at risk, and economic improvement is an impossibility. The statistics are heartbreaking but inspiring because with the simple gift of a well and the access it provides to clean water, a community can be transformed.

Tomorrow, when I sit around the Thanksgiving table with my family and share what I am thankful for, I am going back to basics. I will say that I am grateful for water. Water that runs straight into my house. Water that is hot when I want a shower and cold when I want a drink. Water that is clean and fresh and free of things that can kill me. Based on this fact alone, I am more fortunate than the nearly one billion people on the planet who don’t have this luxury.