I am 36 weeks pregnant—just about a month away from welcoming a baby into our family. James and I are excited and a bit uncertain as to what we’re about to get ourselves into! Together, we have been consumed by the following questions about daycare: What type of parenting should we follow? What should we be putting on our registry? Pretty normal questions for new parents. For new parents in North America, that is.
Because if James and I were living in a rural village in Africa, our questions would be dramatically different. We would have no such luxury to ask the questions stated above.
Instead, our concerns would be around whether or not the baby and I would survive labor and delivery, especially without access to a skilled birth attendant or clean water to prevent infections. If the baby survives, his greatest risk would be the threat of diarrhea, which is caused by contaminated water, and is the leading cause of death for children under the age of five. Beyond that, school would not be a guarantee, especially if he needed to spend his days walking back and forth to find water for our family.
I have walked with children and families for the last 10 years as they have had to face such difficult questions, and I am more aware today than ever of the gift it is to have something as basic as clean water.
As World Water Day approaches (this Saturday), I am grateful to not have to worry so much about my baby’s survival, due in large part to our easy access to safe water. I am also prayerful that we can each find ways to continue to advocate for those around the world who know no such luxury.