Women of Samburu walk up to 12 miles each day to get water that isn’t always sanitary. I know this fact is written all over the Samburu Project website, instagram, facebook, basically every form of social media you can think of, but I think for a lot of us this idea is difficult to grasp. 12 miles is insanely far to walk. That’s one mile shy of a half marathon, and people train for months at a time for those! I personally get winded on my 15-20 minute walk to class (a mile at most) so 12 miles sounds pretty unbearable. And these women are doing this almost daily. Think of all of the things we do instead of walking in a day. School, work, sports, leisure, everything. Without convenient access to water, Samburu women and children are denied almost all aspects of life we assume are inherent. Imagine not being able to attend school because you need to get some water. It sounds ridiculous but this is the unfortunate reality for millions around the world. The Samburu people need water to survive, however, they have no hope of advancing in the economic or educational world if they have to spend all of their time walking to water.
Even worse, most of the water they consume is contaminated, leading to an entirely new set of problems. Water borne illnesses account for more the 3.4 million deaths per year, most of them children. In addition to the tragic loss of life, there is an economic loss. Parents may remove themselves from labor force to care for a sick child meaning they have less to provide the rest of the family. Most of these common illnesses are virtually obsolete in the developed world because of the infrastructure in place that sanitize and transport water. Some may suggest moving closer to where the water is, but for most that is not an option. Samburu land is their culture and leaving it would mean taking on an entirely new way of life. Wells allow for the Samburu people to nurture the growth of their culture and the health of their bodies, encouraging future prosperity for the people.