I know a girl named Jennifer who walks for most of her day. Not by choice but by absolute need. One step in front of the other brings Jennifer closer to a source of water, water that is needed to survive. She carries a bright yellow bucket in one arm and the hand of her younger sister in the other. Her calloused feet meet the dirt path with ease and levity. She passes neighbors, livestock, mud huts with thatched roofs, and the primary school down the road.
After thirty minutes of walking, Jennifer and her sister dip their buckets in the filth of a muddy river. They do their best to swirl the water before dipping their buckets deep into the water so as to push away the clumps and bugs that sit along the surface of the brown water. With remarkable grace, each girl places her 20 pound bucket on her head and walks back. Their bare feet hit against the dirt of the path, passing yet again the primary school down the road, the mud huts with thatched roofs, the livestock and the neighbors. When they arrive home, they empty their buckets into a large tub. Invisible bacteria swim in the water, causing serious stomach aches, skin infections and life-threatening diseases to the members of the family. They will use it for drinking, cleaning and cooking. It is what they have, and so it is what they use. Jennifer turns around to walk back along the dirt path with her bright yellow bucket in one arm and the hand of her younger sister in the other, to return to the river once more.