This week the Traveling Ink team had the pleasure of meeting the folks at Water Mission (formerly Water Missions International, a local nonprofit organization that aids third-world countries impacted by the global water crisis. As a nonprofit engineering organization with a Christian focus, Water Mission provides clean drinking water, sanitation, and the Living Water to communities in need.
We had the opportunity to tour WM’s International Headquarters office in North Charleston, and thanks to our guide, K.C. Lombard, we learned so much about the global water crisis. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, waterborne diseases cause the deaths of more than 1.5 million children per year, which is more than 4,000 children per day. In countries like Haiti, Honduras, Uganda, Burundi, and many more, women and children walk an average of 3.5 miles to retrieve dirty water and often make several trips a day. Over 200 million cumulative hours are spent walking for water every single day by people around the world. Staff and volunteers at WM hope to end this detrimental cycle by providing water purification systems, proper sanitation, and hygiene education to the people in these communities.
KC Lombard shares one of WM's sanitation solutions.
At the end of our tour, our guide reminded us of the impact Water Mission can have on the lives of women and children in third-world countries. “We’re talking about the poverty cycle involved when these women and children spend so much time each day going to get dirty water,” Lombard said. “Once they are freed from this cycle, the children are able to go to school and the women are able to do so much more. They’re no longer feeling sick from drinking the dirty water. They’re healthier and happier. We are able to bring hope and prosperity into a community, and just imagine what that community is going to look like in 20 years.”
Participants walk the distance people around the world typically trek to get to their local water source.
On March 22nd, Water Mission will host their annual Charleston Walk for Water. This experiential walk will take place at 9:00 a.m. in Cannon Park, downtown Charleston. Participants will walk 3.5 miles while carrying a small bucket of water to simulate the daily trek of so many in need of clean drinking water. Afterwards, walkers can enjoy great food and music while learning more about the WM organization. Individual and team participation are both encouraged, as well as “virtual walker participation” for those who cannot be present for the walk. This walk is a fundraiser as well as an opportunity to spread awareness about the global water crisis. All registration proceeds will go directly to WMI projects to assist with disaster relief and community development.
To get involved with WM’s Walk for Water, please click here for registration and donation details. The first 20 people who register with Traveling Ink's discount code of TRAVEL2014 (all caps, case sensitive) will save $5 on their registration. (This promotion is now finished. For future Walk for Water Event information, please visit the Water Mission website.
*Editor's Note: While at Water Missions International's headquarters, I asked our guide what one of the biggest obstacles to getting support was. He shared that people want to help, but it is so hard for them to relate to the fact that people are suffering and dying on a daily basis because of the lack of clean water. Our lives in the US are typically so very different.
I have had the opportunity to visit a couple of the countries where Water Mission has water purification units. I have experienced a child begging for water. There are few things so heart-wrenching as knowing a community needs water, and you do not have the water or resources at hand to make an immediate impact. Water Mission does have the knowledge to make a real, lasting impact in these places for millions of people, but they need the support of volunteers and donors here in the US. I urge you to make the step to get involved, if that is by walking in the upcoming Walk for Water, donating, or volunteering. ~Audra Gibson, Traveling Ink Editor
Lea Anna is a Louisiana native with an undeniable accent. Raised in a small town, she learned the rules of football and the words to "Amazing Grace" before she could spell her own name. Speaking of the name, she hates being called Leah or Leanne. It’s Lea, like sweet tea, add the Anna. These days, you can find her under the "big city" lights in Charleston, SC, chasing dreams she never knew she had. Like becoming a writer, getting a Master’s degree, and exploring life on the east coast. She hopes you leave this blog with a little insight, and a big smile. So, in the words of a Louisianan, “laissez les bons temps rouler.” Let the good times roll.