Water walk offers empathy for developing world

Positively Africa is challenging residents of Greater Victoria to carry water 10 km in support of clean water

Clean water is essential to good health, but what if your community’s only access to water meant women and children walking 10 kilometres to a dirty river and hauling 20 litres home on their backs – all while feeling the effects of being HIV-positive?

The reality for many people around the world stricken with a lack of clean drinking water is far from our way of life in the Capital Region and one Positively Africa would like to bring to light during its second annual Water Walk.

The local group, formed under Victoria International Development Education Association, is challenging residents of Greater Victoria to carry water 10 km in support of clean water and health related issues in Narok, Kenya, where women often walk 10 km daily to access water.

“Imagine carrying that on your back with a strap supporting it across your forehead,” said Peggy Frank, co-founder of Positively Africa. “And if you’re sick – imagine having the flu and having to get up and walk 10 kilometres, let alone carrying that water – it’s hard.”

On Sunday, participants will carry buckets of water around the 10-km loop at Elk/Beaver Lake Park, but unlike the women and children of Narok, they’ll be able to stop and unload water if it grows too heavy.

Walkers will haul 10 litres pails, about half the amount typically transported by people in the Kenyan community.

The funds raised through registration fees and pledges will go toward upkeep of the water truck Positively Africa purchased last year for the Osopet Community Based Organization, which serves communities surrounding Narok.

“We don’t want people to get hurt. It’s not about proving anything,” Frank said. “It’s about understanding the hardships of people in Kenya.”

To register a team, or for more information, contact Joan at 250-592-1480 or waterwalkvictoria@gmail.com.

nnorth@saanichnews.com