We were intrigued to hear of The H2O Challenge going on at Marquette and supported by Campus Ministry. The concept is simple: participants vow to drink only water for two weeks and donate the money that they would have spent on pop or lattes to the drilling of clean wells in impoverished areas. We encourage students to participate in this program. Drinking only water for two weeks is not a great sacrifice, and the money saved can do a lot of good.
One billion people lack access to clean water, and 25 thousand of them die daily due to illnesses related to an unhygienic water supply. There are a number of particularly scary diseases, like cholera, caused by drinking tainted water. Lack of clean water can also lead to trachoma, a bacterial infection that can lead to blindness. Another serious condition is Guinea worm disease, a debilitating and painful infection caused by a large roundworm found in contaminated water. The worm penetrates the stomach, makes its way to the skin and, after growing to a length of 3 feet, emerges from the body through a painful blister.
We can't imagine having to worry about such horrifying diseases on a daily basis. In addition to these illnesses and others, women and children in many parts of the world have to walk hours a day to haul dirty, disease-ridden water to their homes from lakes and rivers.
For just $10, one person can be freed of the worry of sickness and the burden of hauling water for life. By taking the H2O challenge and skipping the daily pop, the morning coffee, and yes, the weekend booze, it would be easy to save enough money to provide clean water for several people for the remainder of their lives. Take a moment to think about how much you drink during the week. The lines at the Brew between classes are across the coffee shop. Homeless people manage to get by just by collecting our beer cans after the weekends.
$10 is really nothing. It's less than two or three drinks at Starbucks. It's less than a pizza. It's less than a cab ride to the bar. But it is worth so much more than that to those who really need it. Let's step up and meet the H2O Challenge, Marquette. We can really make a difference.