by Rita Hooper
Do you remember the old adage: you don’t know what you have until you loose it?
A good number of my Hannibal friends can relate to that expression regarding water. It is nice that now a large part of Hannibal has clean, drinkable water. That’s not the case in a large part of the world.
I’ve been doing some research on water in connection with a mission fair that my church is doing. What we take for granted – a lot of people don’t, and never have had.
Here are some statistics that might give you pause to stop and think. Americans use about 100 gallons of water at home each day while millions in the world subsist on less than 5 gallons a day.
One out of 8 people worldwide lack access to clean water. Also, 3.3 million folks die from water-related health problems each year. Washing hands with soap can reduce diarrheal disease by 45 percent. As we wash our hands after using the bathroom, a large part of the world is lucky to have water to wash their hands once a day while those lucky enough to have water may well not have the money for or ability to make soap.
Did you know that in a pinch many people use wood ashes in place of soap?
When you don’t have water for drinking, you might only wash your clothes once a year.
It’s not surprising that much of the world does not have a public system with pipes running to each home, but an increasing number of villages have public wells – water may be pumped from the ground or surface using hand or foot pumps that are provided by relief agencies.
Some villages have large cisterns where water is dumped. In either case, the water must be carted to the home. Most of that work being done by women, girls and very young boys. Much of the water is carried in five-gallon gerry cans strapped to the back of a women. A woman might make as many as five trips a day for water and may carry more than one gerry can at a time; a full gerry can weighs 50 pounds.
After making a couple of trips for water a day (women in developing countries trek an average of 3.7 miles per trip,) not much time is left for her other chores that she needs to do, such as growing crops in the fields, gathering feed grasses for the animals, drying and grinding grain, cleaning the abode and watching the children, to say nothing of feeding the family.
Maybe the next time we hear someone referring to people as lazy, we might step back and look at more than the surface. Even in this country, keeping clean is not easy…soap is not a food and therefore is not considered essential.
In this country, there are areas of water scarcity and more areas are experiencing water shortages with each passing year. Also, 150 billion gallons of water is lost annually to swimming pool evaporation and in one state alone, 3,000 gallons of water is used keeping the golfing greens green per golf game (say that three times fast!)
The good news is that there are things that can be done. One company has developed a packet that when added to dirty water will make it drinkable in 30 minutes. It kills bacteria; dirt, heavy metals and parasites clump together and can then be filtered out.
A great and cheap discovery for many whose only water is gathered by the cupful from rain puddles and dried up rivers shared by bathers and animals. Companies are working at conserving water in their processing and working with farmers to grow crops with less water.
Some folks even in Hannibal have gone back to collecting rainwater in barrels from their roofs.
Desalination of salt water, once only talked about, is happening. Roughly 97 percent of our world’s water is salty.
In Kenya, water is being sterilized in plastic bottles placed on a piece of metal and placed in the full sun for 6 hours where the UVA rays will kill bacteria, parasites and viruses.
And speaking of UVA rays, here’s a neat thing I just read about. In a water reservoir in Los Angeles, it was found that the carcinogen bromate, was being formed by bromide and chlorine when the sun was shining. They now have 3 million little black balls floating on the top of the reservoir to shield it from the sun. What won’t they think of next?
Water sure is interesting and there is so much we can do to make sure what we have will go further. I remember the old saying, “wash down as far as possible, up as far as possible and then wash possible.”
Think how much water we put down the drain with daily showers – then think of all the lotions we buy to put the oils back in our skin.
Save that dish water in the summer for watering the gardens. Support one of the many organizations such as the Global Water Initiative, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Services, Church World Service and the UN that are working to provide clean water.
Change your shower head and turn the water off while brushing your teeth. As a camper, we brushed our teeth with a Dixie cup of water and dried ourselves with a facecloth. It does make a difference when you tote your own water as to how much you use!
Hope I’ve got you thinking – gotta go I think I hear the toilet running – is that faucet still dripping?
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The Ecumenical Key Council will hold its annual bake sale today, March 23 at the Hannibal IGA from 9 a.m. to noon. Money earned from the bake sales is used to support The Hannibal Resource Center and The Christmas Bureau.
The winner of Hannibal library’s fifth annual Woman of the Year is Ann Mahaney. Please join in the celebration in her honor today, March 23rd in the Community Room at the library from 2 to 3 p.m.
The Friends of the Library have another raffle basket at the library, “Tea for Three,” which includes cups and saucers, dessert plates, tea, cookies and more. Drawing will be held today, March 23 during the Hannibal Woman of the Year event.
Hannibal Sports Boosters and the Hannibal varsity baseball team will be serving a spaghetti dinner at the American Legion on today, March 23 from noon until 4 p.m. Joe Ukleya is the chef! Take-outs available. Raffles available.
The Sterling Valley Community Church will be hosting The Tri-County Singers today, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. They will be performing the Easter Cantata, “Upon this Rock” written by Pepper Choplin. Everyone is invite
The Hannibal Fire Company Auxiliary’s annual Breakfast Buffet with the Easter Bunny will be tomorrow, March 24 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Firehouse on Oswego Street. Come and have your picture taken with The Easter Bunny — it’s free and he’ll be there from 9 to 10:30 a.m.
God’s Vision Christian Church Palm Sunday service is at 10 a.m. at the church on Route 3 in the village.
Our Lady of the Rosary Church will be serving a chicken and biscuit dinner tomorrow, March 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The church is located across from Hannibal High School. The Enoch Thomas Cluster of the United Methodist Churches will be sharing in its Lenten Palm Sunday service at 5 p.m. at Bowen’s Corners.
The Senior Nutrition Program meets at the Senior Center, next to the library Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Lunch is served at noon but they are open by 10 a.m. for coffee, news and games. Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation now at 564-5471.
Monday’s menu is sweet and tangy pork, baked potato, vegetable, ice cream and Wednesday’s menu will be homemade macaroni and cheese, stewed tomatoes, vegetable blend, and pears. The center will be closed March 29 for Good Friday.
The Hannibal Historical Society will meet Monday, March 25 at the Hannibal Community Center at 7 p.m.
The Hannibal Methodist Church is serving a free lunch (donations for this ministry accepted though) on Thursdays at 11:30. Don’t eat alone, come on down and join the fun and fellowship.
God’s Vision Christian Church will hold Easter service at 10 a.m. in the sanctuary.
Dollars for Scholars will be serving a pulled pork dinner, April 7 from noon until gone at American Legion.