I remember sitting in a breezy Luo hut in Kenya last summer while listening to a young expectant mother who, even though pregnant, had to walk five miles to get fresh water every day. At the very moment she told us how far fresh water was from her family’s compound I began to calculate how far away five miles would be from my home and how terribly tiring it would be to walk the five miles back with heavy water in tow.
Every day millions of people, especially women, girls, and young boys, must fetch water for themselves and their families. According to Charity Water, women and children spend 40 billion hours a year simply walking to get water. That is a far cry from the luxury we have of walking into an adjacent room in our home and turning on the tap.
Today that moment in Kenya came to mind and I thought about the young mother several times. I wondered if a well is now nearby where she doesn’t have to walk so far to get water. I wondered if she was pregnant again and still walking ten miles every day.
Given the magnitude of millions of people walking to get water every day in Africa I put together this slideshow of photos of people getting water taken by the United Nations dating from the 1970s through today.
nggallery template=’carousel’ id=’8′