You Can’t Know What It’s Like—Until You Know What It’s Like
It was 10am on a Saturday morning at Mount Union Campus College. Before most college students rolled out of bed, the 20 of us gathered at the student union. A cold and rainy day would be a far cry from the sunny, warm weather that would make a Saturday morning walk enjoyable, but the 1 billion people around the world who don’t have access to clean water aren’t able to wait for optimal weather, so neither would we. On Saturday, April 21, we would walk for water.
Once everyone had checked in, we took some time to remember why we were there. Photos, stats, and videos from 20 Liters website helped set the mood and awaken us to the realities we’ve only ever seen from a distance. Already impacted, we somberly set out across campus to a stream in the middle of a park. One girl carried a stick with 5 milk gallons attached. A 78-year-old woman prepared 4 liters of water in a backpack. A full 20 Liters Jerry Can passed among us, changing hands every 100 yards so everyone had the opportunity to experience what it feels like to carry 44lbs of water for a while. We thought we knew what it’d be like. We never realized entering into the act would be so powerful. The weight of the water, the weight of the issues—it changed us. It moved us. From apathy to empathy. From looking to acting. And even more powerful, was the knowledge that it will also change the lives of those without access to clean water, as well. We raised $900 that day. $400 over our goal, and $900 more than we planned to raise when we’d initially set out to participate in this as solely an experience. That’s 6 filters, which will clean water for up to 24 people for 10 years. Best Saturday morning ever.