Michelle Wildes’ seventh grade science class has recently been studying the global water crisis. To better understand what people in dry areas go through to get water, the class went on a one mile walk around the Beaver campus with each student carrying a gallon of water. This activity simulated what many women endure on a daily basis to have access to clean drinking water.
After the walk, students heard from Lucas Mhina who grew up and was educated in rural Tanzania. He spoke to the class about what life is like in that area and how the global water crisis affects the population there.
Students were then asked to write reflections about their experience on the walk and Mr. Mhina’s talk. Here is an excerpt from one student’s reflection:
The Walk for Water helped me understand the pain of many African women as they walk about a mile, carrying a gallon of water. It did not nearly give me the knowledge of what they actually felt. In Massachusetts it’s spring, in Africa, winters are often harsher than our summers. In the blazing sun, they must walk a mile, sometimes carrying children, sometimes barefoot, the gallon of water hurting their back, arms, and head depending on how they carry it.
In the mile walk I did, it was cooler, I had nothing but the gallon to carry, and I had on comfortable shoes to walk in. That was only a one day experience. My arms were not sore from previous walks, my legs were fine, my back was erect, you could say that I might even have enjoyed the walk. In Africa, the mile walk is necessary for their survival. Without the walk they do each day, they would have no water for their family, or themselves…
Lucas, the speaker, explained more about the hardships in Africa, giving me a better understanding of the hardships they face…Lucas explained that the people of Africa were best in the rainy season. In the rainy season, the grass grew better for the cows to eat and produce milk. In the rainy season, you might often see a child taking a shower with a bucket of water. Unfortunately, the rainy season does not last long. It starts in March and ends somewhere throughout May, which is less than a fourth of the year.