Ole Kukan sat on our porch yesterday morning and, in the process of chewing the news, let us know that women in his village are walking 2 hours each direction for water these days. They fill jerry cans on the backs of donkeys then begin the 2 hour journey home again. Over the next couple of days, the water is doled out like the precious commodity it is. Not a drop is wasted.
Have you ever seen how dirty your hands get milking a cow? Or handling a goat? Or just living life in a place where water doesn't flow out of taps on-demand?
I wonder how many times I wash my hands in the course of a day...
I'd like to think I'm pretty careful with water. I consider myself aware. I'd like to believe I'm good about electricity, as well. We don't leave lights on that don't actually need to be on. We've changed most of our bulbs to energy-savers.
Still, I've never walked 2 minutes for water, let alone 2 hours. It's there. I take it for granted. It's a basic human right, right?
These days, when I'm brushing my teeth, I'm more aware than ever about not letting the water gush down the drain as I stand there luxuriously working on oral hygiene. I turn the water off quickly, not just because billions of people are without the basic provision of clean water. I turn the water off quickly because I know these women. I know their names, not just their faces...
I turn my tap off as an act of respect.