When the River Runs Dry

Women in Kenya face the everyday daunting task of collecting water for their families. BU students Chelsea Walters and Robert Kernaghan highlight a special program that shares in a little way this unique challenge.

NURU Walk

Bloomsburg and the surrounding communities have fresh water sources everywhere.  The town has rivers and streams nearby and decorative fountains dot the landscape. Homes have showers and tubs, large university and public buildings are equipped with sinks and water fountains, and no one can imagine a home without clean water.  We rely on water to drink and bathe everyday but what if those water supplies were to disappear completely, what would we do then?
 
This is an issue that the women of Kenya face continually.  Many of these rural women walk about 30 minutes to water sources where they fill a bucket of water and walk back, a survival journey that can repeat about 3 times a day.  If they didn’t do this, many of them would not have enough water for them or their families.  This life-saving process is so important in Kenya that water collecting starts around the age of five when young girls are pulled out of school to help their mothers collect water.
 
Bloomsburg University is joining a number of other universities in the Be Hope To Her walk. Here, students will be asked to carry buckets and walk to the Susquehanna River to collect water. The students will then walk back and will be able to understand in a small way just what it is like to be a Kenyan woman.  The cost is $5 to participate in the walk with all proceeds donated to NURU International, an organization whose members travel to places like Kuria, Kenya and partners with native Kenyans to teach clean water education and water purification skills. This knowledge gives these people the ability to raise their own money for items such as purification water tablets and more beneficial water systems.
 
Lizzie Lee is a Bloomsburg University nursing student who has gone on medical mission trips to places with lack of clean water like Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, facing issues just like this.  “If patients [in Kenya] had clean water, their health problems would be greatly reduced,” she said.
 
The water the Kenyan women collect is often dirty and polluted with parasites that cause illnesses.  Without the cleansing effects of clean water and hydration, sicknesses like diarrhea can be deadly.  With the help of students all across the U.S., these peoples’ lives can be saved.
 
Lee is working with the Honors Center to make this event possible.  On Sunday, April 29 from 2-5 p.m., everyone will be given the opportunity to put themselves in these women’s shoes.  Organizers built an event page on Facebook titled Bloomsburg University Be Hope to Her (BH2O+), or you can email Lizzie Lee at ebl64867@huskies.bloomu.edu.

Everyone is encouraged to participate whether it is donating money, carrying signs, just walking along with the group, or even participating in the event itself.
 

[box type=”bio”]Story by Chelsea Walters. Edited by Robert Kernaghan. Chelsea and Robert are Students in Bloomsburg University’s Mass Communications Program. Photograph provided courtesy NURU International.[/box]

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