In November 2016, while visiting the village of Ambonidobo in Madagascar, I did just a small portion of journey that we call the "Walk for Water". In many countries, the closest water source is up to 6km from home. The journey is dangerous and time-consuming...all to carry up to 44lbs of unsafe water home.
In the photos and video above you will see our group walking down a steep and dangerous path to the closest water source. You will see us filling our jerrycans with unacceptable water that is unfit for survival. You will see us carry these on our heads back to the village. You will see the effects that it had on me, after carrying it only a fraction of the distance that the young girls in the video travel daily to perform this task.
The weight of these jerry cans when full is over 44 lbs - more than the weight of some of the girls you see in this video. The effects of carrying it are exhausting and are felt almost immediately. One of the strongest effects is dehydration from the effort of the task performed in extreme heat.
The most difficult realization about this issue came when we arrived in the village. My immediate reaction was to drink water and re-hydrate, but I quickly realized that if I was in this situation daily, my only option for hydration would be the deadly water that was just collected. This is the moment that has stuck with me since last November. In Ambonidobo, there is 0% access to safe water. There is no safe solution for dehydration and illness. The only option is to drink unsafe water to survive and it comes with severe consequences.
As we wrap up another Aveda Earth Month to benefit WaterAid Canada, I would like to thank everyone who has supported this year. If you haven't had the chance to show your support, you may make a donation www.collegaearthmonth.com or come out on Friday to H2016Toronto. Please know that this issue is important, and that it is solvable. I have personally witnessed the work of this charity over the years and I can guarantee that any contribution you can make will truly go towards a great cause.
I am happy to report that by this time next year, with your help, Ambonidobo will be a safer and healthier place. Thank you.