On Friday, I walked back from Trader Joe’s with two full grocery bags of food. It was a mere 0.9 miles to get back to our house, but it’s part of what Ryan and I are doing this spring in conjunction with the Spilling Hope project at our church.
Last year on Easter, our church was presented with the challenge of living simply in order to give generously for 50 days. On pentecost, an offering was taken to build wells in Uganda. The idea was that if everyone in our church saved just a dollar a day for 50 days, we would provide 10 communities in Uganda with a well. 13 are being built on the $130,000 that was donated.
Admittedly last year I wrote a check and that was it. It didn’t really affect Ryan and I financially at all. I don’t think we really lived any more simply; and in all reality, besides our trips, we do live fairly simply in our day to day lives. But no where near what kind of simple the rest of the world lives in. The kind of simple where walking back and forth to water sources (not even clean water sources) literally consumes their lives.
Two people have struck me throughout this project. One woman who attended our church for the first time on Easter last year was from Uganda. She, as a small girl, carried the water back and forth. Through a video clip, she described how much clean water would mean to a community like the one she grew up in. She thanked us for caring. Last week we were able to watch a video of a celebration as one community received a well. The pastor in the community was trying to describe what difference the well would make to them, and he said this (paraphrased by my memory):
You’ve given us water, and water is… life. You’ve given us life.
The water I let trickle in the sink without much thought. The water we let run so it gets sufficiently cold or hot. The perfectly clean water that I use not only to drink but also to wash dishes, clothes and myself. I’m not sure I realize how much water is life in my my day to day living.
This year, we’ve given up buying coffee and tea. We’re trying to reduce our grocery budget, and we’re walking whenever possible to save in gas.
So I was walking home carrying grocery bags instead of driving over, and I began to imagine that I was a girl or woman in one of these communities carrying water multiple times a day. I would have little time to play or dream or hope. I would not have received an education because water trumps all else. And on top of it all, for all the trouble, the water would not even have been safe.