Thankyou Water

 One household well

One of the highlights of the year is the annual visit from Thankyou Water, an Australian "consumer movement" that funds a lot of water projects here in Cambodia. Thankyou Water was started by people who visualized the connection between the shortage of clean drinking water in developing nations and Australia's $600 million bottled water industry. They began bottling and selling drinking water in outlets throughout Australia, including 7-11 convenience stores. And for every bottle sold, the profit went directly to supporting clean water projects overseas. (check out their incredible promo video here)

Andrew demonstrating a rope pump well

The team is spending a week visiting project sites in Cambodia, and we were lucky enough to cross paths and spend a morning with them. Andrew provided a lot of technical details to their staff, explaining the wells, filters, and other aspects of the project. We sat and talked with a woman who had a well from SP. She explained how difficult it was to obtain water before receiving her well. She talked about the waterborn illnesses (i.e. diarrhea/vomiting/parasites) she and her family had; the cost of frequent illness; and the daily struggle of carrying 10 liters at a time of dirty brown water from a hole in the ground far from her house.

And then, we took a walk and followed her son to the place where they used to get water. It was well over 95 degrees even at 10 a.m., as we walked over dried stalks of grass, past wary water buffaloes into the fields behind the woman's house.

The son carrying his water bucket to the old water source

This is the "hole" they would dig out of during the rainy season

In the dry season, they used this deeper hole for water.

Demonstrating using a silver pan to dig out the sand and gravel

This is the quality of the water they could get from this hole in the ground

And in case photos don't quite illustrate it enough, watch this video and try to imagine having to get water like this every day, several times a day, and having no other option if the source dried up or made you sick. It took him several minutes just to get deep enough for water; by then he was already covered in sweat, with no shade from the boiling sun overhead.

I try to imagine my life like this, digging in the sand for water, and it just blows my mind. Even here in Cambodia, I take water for granted most of the time, and it's so easy to forget that out in the villages, people don't have stable access to safe, clean water. But this is part of the reason we came to Cambodia to work and why Andrew's work is so important with SP. After seeing the water, you can imagine the impact one well has had on this woman's family.

A close up of a rope pump well

Of course on our way home, we ran into some interesting traffic. If you enlarge the photo by clicking on it, you can see the edge of the truck is covered with chickens tied up and hanging by their legs, and the truck (as always) overpacked with people. 

post signature