She was one of nearly 200 students who hiked nearly three miles through Jennings on Thursday, March 22 to walk in the shoes of people in rural Kenya, who must walk three miles one way daily to fetch water.
“Think about why you’re doing this,” said Sheri Wade, the Jennings Junior High School teacher who coordinated the community service event.
Lack of access to and adequate supplies of clean drinking water affects health in a number of ways. Contaminated water transmits or causes preventable infectious diseases, like diarrhea, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Water supplies that are contaminated with waste or chemical pollution is a growing problem. Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source that is contaminated with feces. WHO estimates contaminated drinking water causes 502,000 diarrhea deaths each year.
While diarrhea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water, there are other hazards. WHO reports nearly 240 million people are affected by schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water. WHO estimates in just seven years – by 2025 – half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed nations.
With the walk, students, staff, administrators and Superintendent Art McCoy were given first-hand insight on how privileged they are to have instant access to clean drinking water.