Saturday, June 13, 2009

The basic need for all life.

I hope you check out the Water Mission International website.

In some ways Americans are a very perplexing people. After centuries of being for both good and bad the most dynamic and creative people on the planet we seem to have settled, at least for now, into some sort of middle aged-like induced lethargy. Often we seem all too eager just to ignore what is going on here in the forgotten corners of our country and around the world when it threatens to disturb our placid middle-class stupor.
Many of us have willingly sacrificed the responsibilities and duties of American citizenship for the curious title of American consumer and the frivolous nature of living life beyond our means on easy credit ignoring the near serf-like terms in the fine print on the bills we never read. Safely tucked away in our suburban homes surrounded by chemically maintained green lawns we watch the news of the day and see how many of our leaders dance on the head of an Orwellian pin about “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” assuring us that they have kept us safe but yet can’t tell us the details. Even as something as basic to the maintenance of life itself, drinkable water, is wasted with oblivious abandon on the washing of cars, private pools, and taking care of those all so precious green lawns so we can in miniature copy stately English manors. Americans have even succumbed to the lower slimy denizens of Madison Avenue by taking to buying water in expensive stores with only a pretty exotic picture stuck to the cheap non-biodegradable plastic bottle ignoring the same thing that flows from their taps at home. If only much of the rest of the world had the advantage to do the same thing.
Despite the basic need for water that all human beings require, for much of the rest of the world the struggle for something so vital is often a totally consuming struggle leaving time for little beyond basic existence. More than a billion people worldwide simply do not have access to drinkable water and two billion people do not have adequate sanitation opening the door for a whole range of diseases. These conditions contribute largely to perpetuating the poverty cycle in developing countries leaving adults unable to work and children unable to attain school. Without work or education there is little hope of breaking the cycle of poverty.

I could sit all day typing away on facts and figures concerning how the lack of clean water affects people around the world. That the on-going water crisis kills nine million people each year. That every fifteen seconds a child dies from a water related illness involving diarrheal diseases, parasitic diseases, or water washed diseases such as Trachoma that causes blindness. However, for many such facts would fly over their heads as they pursue their daily lives shuttling kids to soccer matches, making the next big deal over the cell phone, or working towards that newer house with the bigger kitchen. There is nothing wrong with any of that and honestly no matter how comfortable the lives of others may seem we all have our own heavy burdens. Its just that some hide them better than other, even to themselves.

Despite this we can do better, there are groups out there working hard to enable the less fortunate to supply themselves that most basic of need, clean water. Even with our burdens every moral, religious and ethical framework around the world calls for those with more to help those who struggle with so little. Such help can be supplied through charities both secular and religious in nature. One that I have to recommend is Water Missions International located in Charleston, South Carolina. This organization was brought to my attention by the extra lovely and super intelligent Ms. Joan Perry at the blog “Charleston Daily Photo”. Before someone goes off scoffing at my rantings in no way do I set myself above anyone else as some tower of moral virtue. Its just that I have become increasingly uneasy at my own advantages and wish to change my ways. In the end that is all any of us can hope to achieve.


sunshine said...

Those pictures (especially the last one) coupled with your very articulate words, break my heart.
I bitch and moan about how crappy our water tastes in our town but, all in all, it ain't gonna kill me.

I've seen programs on tv where much like you stated, retrieving drinkable water is an all day job. Me on the other hand .. somedays I'm too darn lazy to get up off the couch to grab a bottle from the fridge. LOL! Can you imagine how I would fare if suddenly there was no clean water for miles?? I'd be among the first casualities for sure!!
We sponser a boy named Mievy in the Dominican. World Vision is pretty good about going in and setting up wells for the villages that they help! Someday I would love to be able to go and see him.
Thanks for the great blog. Very thought provoking. We should all be doing much much more than we do.

Randal Graves said...

Hey candyass pseudo-patriots: wanna know what will help lessen the odds of terrorists blowing shit up? The lessening of despair, which comes from poverty and disease, a good chunk of which comes from lack of access to clean water.

Without water, even Sean Hannity is dead. Cheney, being a robot, is exempt.

Suzan said...

I echo your sentiments, BB.

I try to maintain a "green" existence as far as possible and think the failure to conserve water is among the worst of what we don't do for our planet's continued well being.

I'll never forget Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's - who was fired by Bush in 2002 - words painting Bush as a "a blind man in a room full of deaf people" in the time right after 9/11 when he said that we could win over a thousand times the hearts and minds if we aided African well drilling instead of Iraqi oil drilling.

We continued to learn (be smacked about the face by actually) for the next seven years exactly whom he'd been listening to at that time.

Thanks for the reminder of who we should be.


Joan said...

Thanks Beach Bum. I like Water Missions International because it is such a practical solution to a problem. Muddy water can go in one end and clear pure water comes out the other. It's like magic.

In many countries over half the hospital beds are filled with conditions that could be simply prevented with pure water.

Our hospital did the fund raising for one filtration unit. It made the project very real. If anyone is interested please contact them through their web site for more info. Ask for Danya Jordan or Molly Green. The units are put together by volunteers and they are happy to show you around the warehouse. Beach Bum, next time you are in the lowcountry we can arrange a tour.

I was lucky enough to get to go to Kenya to be there when the tap was turned on. It was pretty emotional and exciting.

Water Missions International

Thanks for spreading the word!

Marja said...

Excellent post BB I think the whole western world, is guilty of wasting water among other things and not being fully aware of how lucky we are
Almost half of the world live from less than $2.50 a day
I agree we and me included could do so much more
Good on you !!!!

Malicious Intent said...

So many choose to turn their heads away from the realities of this world. I working for a non-profit for the less fortunate of this world see what poverty brings every day. It does happen here in America every day and sometimes it is your neighbors.

If everyone donated to one charitable group a year and gave up one night of going out...imagine how much could be accomplished.

If everyone gave 1 day to volunteer somewhere, imagine the productivity that could be achieved.

So many have this "Someone else will do it" attitude. Who do they think those "someone else" folks are?

People need to wake up and look around and see what is going on around them and the world.

Frank said...

I had the opportuntiy to be in Accra, Ghana last year and saw the dire need for clean, drinkable water in that country. To be there and have to use bottle after plastic bottle of water was horrible and grossly wasteful when solutions and technology exists(such as Joan Perry experienced working with Water Missions this year in Kenya.)Thank you for sharing your photos and thoughts. Powerful subject.

rabbit said...

food for thought mate...

nice post

Mike said...

Great post Beach! As a nation, we are pretty spoiled and pretty wasteful. I remember years ago when I was in China for two months I realized how lucky we have it here in America. No matter how bad things are, we need to remember it could be a lot worse.

Beach Bum said...

Sunshine: Same with us, I easily spot times were I'm wasting water. Trying to stop my bad habits like turning the facet on while searching for a pot to boil water, and letting the bathroom facet run whil I brush my teeth.
We are also sponsoring a child overseas. Ours is a little boy in China whose folks abandoned him. My daughter, who we adopted from China, is calling him her little brother.

Randal: Amen! For far too many people such logic is way beyond their ability. Time and time again, with only a few exceptions, I find that the ones so bravely wanting to go out and kill people are chickenhawks who never served and whose information is garnered from watching that little rat bastard Hannity and his cohorts.

Suzan: I remember O'Neil very well. I wonder how much stress he had to deal with working for those people?

Joan: Just wanted to do a little more than the ten dollars I sent out to WMI.

Marja: Far from being perfect myself it just that sometimes I feel like the one eyed man in a room full of blind people. The callous disregard often expressed at the suffering of others on television both amazes and disgusts me. I often pick-on on many of my co-workers for this reason. One morning while getting some coffee a video of the unrest in Burma was showing protesters being injured by the military dictatorship. The other guy in the break room with me laughed and in a serious tone said something to the effect that the protesters needed to have their heads smashed. The guy is a bleeding idiot.

Malicious Intent: I'm doing a small amount of volunteer work with underprivileged kids at a program called "Lunch Buddies". During the school year people are paired up with a child and we just talk with them about school, their lives, and play some games with them. These kids don't have a strong authority figure to look up to and we are suppose to offer that. It ain't much on my part but I'm starting somewhere.

Frank: Welcome and come back often. Just trying to throw some ideas out into the cyber-abyss.

Rabbit: Thanks, say a prayer for us all my friend. Hopefully we as a species will at some point pull our heads out our asses.

Mike: Thats what gets me with Americans, we could defuse so much hate if we tried a little kindness instead of locking laser targeting systems for bombing every issue across the world.

Keshi said...

ur words touched me deeply BB! I love this post so very much. It raises awareness and opens our eyes to all the lil things that we take for granted.

I hv been in SL and to places like this where kids survive on unclean water and many die from waterborne diseases. And its so sad that the Western world waste water in the way most of us do.

It's critical that we u'stand it now than later on, cos we ourselves may not hv clean or any water at all some day, if we waste water at this rate.


MadMike said...

Another masterpiece BB. Your post brought an awareness that heretofore was just below the surface. Common sense dictates the need to conserve and protect, but more often than not it is one of those things we say we will do tomorrow.

Beach Bum said...

Keshi: Someone washing his car once a week never turning the water off as he soaps it up should be illegal. Given some of the statistics I seen give it a few years and it will be immoral to waste it.

MadMike: Its scary when you see the declining fresh water supply and the ever increasing demand for such stupid things as private backyard pools. I guess I'm turning more and more into some sort of godless commie.

lime said...

living simply so others can simply live...

goatman said...

It's true, we piss in water which is cleaner than most of the worlds' people have to drink. And we do it with such glee and ignorant abandon. It is time to consider grey water for our gardens and toilets (as those in San Francisco are discovering and doing). And collecting free rainwater for many uses--we could become tiny dams in the flow of rainwater to the sea!
But we are a complacent people; happy to live ignorant as long as the bill isn't too high ,our television is not interrupted, and fast food is available down any street.
It may take something as severe as the current economic situation to get people off of dead center and get out (with their unemployed free time) and do something useful to the whole culture. But somehow I doubt it.

Thanks for the chance to rant!!

Beach Bum said...

Lime: Amen.

Goatman: I agree, and feel free to rant here anytime.

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