After an amazing week of work and play in El Salvador we were headed back to the States. It was hard to say goodbye to everyone we met and worked with throughout the week. As the airplane took off I looked out over El Salvador and said a final goodbye. I got as comfortable as I could get on a plane and pulled out “Hemispheres,” the United Airlines magazine, from my seatback pocket and began to flip through the pages and then there it was – an article that related to my week. It was about Matt Damon. Matt Damon is the co-founder of Water.org and his work was highlighted in an article accompanied by worldwide facts of water supply. Of the 7 billion people on planet Earth, 780 million people lack access to clean water. While we were in El Salvador we were exposed to this water crisis on more than on occasion. On our second day in the country we were touring around San Salvador and witnessed a gathering in a common space where a man was preaching for the necessity of water for his community as they were struggling. In the community we worked in, Getsemani, it was only in recent years that they were provided with access to water. Habitat is now building bathrooms with flushing toilets into their homes (we had to dig a trench for this). On our drive to and from the worksite every day we passed a wall that called attention to personal water consumption. “A 15 minute shower consumes 150 liters of water,” and on it went. So there I was sitting on the plane reflecting on how large of a problem this is and that I was leaving behind a country that is still struggling with this water crisis and needs more help. It’s hard to comprehend as I’ve never had to walk a few miles to get a gallon of water. As a visitor to the country my largest concern was not drinking the water and instead consuming solely bottled water. We are so lucky in the States to have such wide access to clean drinking water that does not put us at risk for diseases. Every 21 seconds a child dies from a water related disease. This is such a daunting fact. With water being essential to life it is necessary for every human being to have access to clean water. While El Salvador has come a long way they still have a ways to go. We ought to be thankful for all that we have here and that how easily it is for us to access water. It was a great week in El Salvador and I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life.

 

Ella Overholt

Class of 2015