Upon signing up for the Rickshaw Run last autumn, I became aware of FRANK Water. Having volunteered with a water project in India on a previous trip, I recognized the need for clean water immediately. But what hit home for me, was FRANK Water was started by a Westerner, who had visited India and got sick due to the water. Finally, I thought someone from a well off country is really reconizing and acting on the need of clean water for all.
This got me thinking about all the countries I've travelled through and the numerous warnings of "don't drink the water" I've heard and read in travel guides. It seems like every country outside of the G8 that I've been to, I've had to drink bottled water for fear that if I drink local water out of the tap I'll get sick. From there I got thinking about the amount of water the average North American uses in a day: bathing, laundry, cleaning the floors, gardening, you name it, every ounce of water that comes out of our taps is safe to drink. In general, we take clean water for granted. It's a given thing for us.
Before embarking on the Rickshaw Run I knew most of India didn't have access to clean drinking water. Forget bathing or laundry, just simple drinking water. While driving over 4000km throughout India it quickly became evident that what most locals drank was dirty water. Now, some may argue that the body becomes accustomed to dirty water, I agree, but that doesn't mean that its safe and disease free. Dirty water is dirty water, simply put. Not ideal for anyone. We all know, clean water saves lives.
As we journeyed up the Eastern coast of the sub continent and spoke with locals along the way, the response as to why we were partaking on such a random adventure (after they got over the fact that we were crazy for driving thousands of kilometres in a rickshaw) was a heartfelt reply of "thank you". "...Thank you for bringing awareness and raising funds for clean water projects in India". For me, these types of responses made it all worth it. Through FRANK Water I believe that not only setting up sustainable clean water projects, but educating those on the importance and the difference in life, clean water can bring is equally important.
I hope more travellers around the world, like Katie, step up and act on the essence of life: safe, clean drinking water for all.