I am an avid tea drinker.

Faith loves tea

Seriously, I love tea.

So recently when I came into the office and found that the hot water function on our water cooler was broken…

No hot water?!

I was forlorn.

No tea = forlorn

The hot water function was also broken on the machine one floor down. So rather than waiting a million years for our water kettle to heat up (it is a relic) or boiling water in the microwave (tea drinkers, you with me?) I started taking an insulated carafe down seven floors to the functional water cooler on the Mezzanine level.

Fetching water

Not a big deal, right? 

So why, after the third day, was I getting increasingly annoyed?  Why do I have to take time out of my day to go get water?

Then I remembered our partners in Latin America and Africa.  Dawn Murdock, our Resource Mobilization Officer, blogged a while ago about how kids at the Wachara Secondary School in Nyanza Province, Kenya, used to have to stop classes and take an hour-long hike down to the nearest stream to bring back water, and wait for it to boil just so it would be safe to drink.  Then, with support from Episcopal Relief & Development, Anglican Development Services of Nyanza (ADS) installed a rainwater catchment system at the school so that there would be plenty of water without having to interrupt classes to fetch it.  ADS provided chlorine tablets to make the water in the tank safe to drink, as well as handwashing and hygiene education, which further helped to reduce water-borne disease at the school.

After a couple of days, we got a new water cooler that makes great hot water.

New water cooler!

So now I can have all the tea I want!


But I’ll still remember how my annoyance at having to go down a few floors to get hot water pales in comparison to the time, effort and risk that so many people – especially women and girls – have to take just to get clean, safe water.  It’s amazing the difference a hand-pump well or rainwater catchment tank can make!

Click here for a story from Nicaragua about how clean water programs are promoting health and fighting disease.  You can help support programs like these by donating to our Clean Water Fund.


Faith Rowold is the Communications Officer at Episcopal Relief & Development.

Comments for #FirstWorldProblems

Name: Nancy Davidge
Time: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

As I begin my day - and reflect on how much water I've already used by 8:00 am - I'm mindful that for many in the world, access to clean water involves a lot of time and energy. I'm remembering seeing women and children in rural Ghana, washing clothes and filling containers to bring back to their homes at the 'bore holes' (wells). And, seeing how ER-D funded wells and pumps help ease the challenges of access to water in rural communities.

Name: Faith Rowold
Time: Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Nancy! It's so great to be able to see this work in action, and the kind of impact it's making. Really glad you were on the trip!

Reading my post again, I realize I should have remembered our partners in Asia as well -- we have a great program in the Philippines where people plant community gardens around their new wells so that the plants get watered by the overflow: http://www.er-d.org/PartnershipsNov2011/

Thanks again, and have a great day!

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