Some Madison area residents are heading to Central America next month. They're on a mission to bring fresh, clean water to residents living in underdeveloped countries.
Fresh water is easy to come by for most of us. But for many people around the world, getting access to clean water is a daily challenge. That's why a local church is putting on a unique event so people understand what it's like to walk for water!
“It's a life changing experience,”
Last summer, members of Immanuel Lutheran church in Mount Horeb took a trip to Nicaragua.
“Well for me it's a chance to give back,”
John Schmitt organized the journey. Their mission is to build a fresh water well for villagers.
“They were very warm very friendly to us, just appreciated us being there, the language barrier existed by smiles are universal,” said Schmitt.
Putting in the well wasn't cheap, it cost $5,000.
To raise money, they held fundraisers. They organized the inaugural “Walk for Water” event. Participants walked about one and half miles with empty water jugs in tow. They walked from Grundahl Park to Steward Lake. There, they filled up the jugs and walked back.
“So to experience it, is to walk a mile in their shoes kind of a feel,” said Schmitt.”Water being eight pounds a gallon so by the time you put a couple gallons of water in there and walk that distance, people understand a little more what it's like in other parts of the world to go get water everyday,”
“It kind of opened up my world to be a little bit bigger than it had been before,”
Sue Skalet also went on last year's trip. she taught the locals about the importance of personal hygiene
“One of our lessons was washing your hands before you eat, after you go to the bathroom, washing food before you eat it,” said Skalet.
She says the trip changed her life.
“It's pretty hard to imagine but actually for me to see it was the point,” she added.
Last year was a success, so this year, they're doing it again.
“This June we are going to travel to Guatemala with a team of 12 people and put in a fresh water well,”
Schmitt plans on drilling a new well in a different developing country each year. That's because he believes that everyone should have access to the most essential aspect of life.
“A water crisis does exist in the world and we have it within our means to make a difference so this is a small thing we can do to make a difference,” said Schmitt.
The 2012 Walk for Water event is being held Saturday May 12. Registration starts at 9 am at Grundahl Park in Mount Horeb. The walk will begin at 10 am. Entry fee is $20. The event should take about an hour and a half.