For six weeks in Kigali, Rwanda, I showered with a bucket. And a small jug of clean water.
I joked with friends back home that for six weeks, it looked like I never washed my hair. Trying to juggle the red bucket and the jug meant I never could save enough water to properly wash my thick brown hair and the rest of my body. Hair washing became a luxury.
I used the water so sparingly yet it so quickly vanished!
Life’s essentials took on new meaning for me in this little group of Rwandan homes for orphans and abandoned children. I soon realized that water was a costly commodity.
Back home in America, I had never really thought about my easy access to water. Or the fact that 783 million people — 11 percent of the global population — do not have access to safe drinking water, let alone bathing water.
Recently on Water.org’s Facebook page, I read this incomprehensible fact:
“A five-minute shower uses more water than one person in a slum will get in a whole day.”
Five minutes. Five minutes in the shower, and I’ve already consumed more water than a person in a slum will use all day for drinking, bathing, cleanings pots or dishes, and washing hands.
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Since returning to America after that six-week trip, I have not forgotten my red bucket and jug of water. Sadly though, I still abuse this costly luxury of water.
I still sometimes forget to turn off the water while brushing my teeth, or one of the hundreds of other ways I can conserve such a valuable resource. I too often forget to thank Jesus each morning when the water runs freely out of the shower head, or in the evening when the faucet gushes hot water into the bathtub.
This year, as we celebrate World Water Day, may we remember and give thanks for one of God’s most precious gifts and indulge by washing your hair!