Our intern, Bethany, shares why her experience in the Dominican Republic inspires her to take on the Dirty Water Dare for people in Africa.
“Do you want to see the river?” Little Alicia looked up at me with her chocolate brown eyes and matted hair. Before I had the chance to answer, she grabbed my hand and led me toward a group of people exiting the village. We walked for about a mile along a tiny dirt path. Her hand swinging in mine, Alicia chatted the whole way there about things I only half understood because of the language barrier.
When we arrived at the river (which was really more of a small creek), I immediately noticed the swarm of gnats and mosquitos that hovered over the water like a thick ugly blanket. The water was only a few inches deep but it looked clear—that is, until a little barefoot boy jumped into the creek and stirred up all the dust and dirt resting at the bottom. The children in the group scooped the water to their mouths and drank without hesitation, while the mothers filled buckets to bring back to the village.
I later discovered that this particular village in the Dominican Republic actually had a community pipeline. However, the pipeline had broken down, and because none of the villagers had the technical expertise to fix it, it had been lying dry and dormant for months, making the dirty “river” the village’s primary water supply. I knew that the contaminated water was in no way improving the people’s already poor health, but what choice did they have? They needed water to survive, even if, ironically, the same water that was sustaining their lives was also slowly killing them.
The water situation in areas across Africa is very similar to what I saw in the Dominican Republic. That’s why, today, I’m taking the Dirty Water Dare on behalf of Alicia—and all the other kids in the world who grow up drinking dirty water because they simply have no other choice. While Alicia’s story takes place just south of the United States, people all across the globe are living a similar story, and Blood:Water is doing something about it. If drinking a glass of “dirty” water and donating a mere $20 can save a life by providing someone in Africa with clean water, why wouldn’t you take the dare? Join me. Take the dare. Make a difference.