JUST ADD WATER
For Zambian villagers, walking for miles just to retrieve clean drinking water is a terrible hardship. But for the hundreds of people who carried buckets of water through Lake Oswego on Saturday to simulate the villagers' experience, it was an outpouring of goodwill.
"We're walking so the villagers don't have to," says WaterAfrica President Gary Mittelstaedt. "That's the whole idea."
Final numbers have yet to be tabulated for this year's Walk4Water, a two-mile round trip from Foothills Park to Millennium Plaza and back. But the Lake Oswego-based nonprofit has set a goal of raising $1 million by 2020 to bring water to an additional 20,000 people.
That's on top of the $2 million it has already generated to help World Vision provide fresh water and implement sustainable sanitation and hygiene programs for 40,000 villagers in Zambia.
Saturday's event included walkers of all ages, but organizers went out of their way to involve children. Students from area schools created a series of informational booths in Foothills Park on water, sanitation and hygiene, and young walkers were given passport booklets that they used to collect stamps at each of the stations.
Live music added to the festive atmosphere, but the day's serious message wasn't lost on 12-year-old Alli Bradshaw of Tualatin, who wore a T-shirt with the message "End the Long Walk" and tried in vain to balance a bucket of water on her head.
"I'm glad I don't have to do this every day," she said. "Sometimes we forget how lucky we are."
— The Review