Rotarians Travel to India

Clean, Pure Water Means Life
By Sandra Forster, Rotary District 5810 Grants Sub-Committee Chair

My trip to India in January 2009 was life changing – not only for me, but for the other 11 Rotarians who joined me. It was a wake-up call to see that homes in major cities do not have indoor plumbing in this day and age. I saw families gather at small wells to pump water into buckets for their daily use. I visited small schools in rural villages that were packed with children eager to learn, but no toilets for them to use. The homes in these distant villages were sparse and clean, but no indoor plumbing. Water has to be gathered from streams or the occasional nearby well. However, due to heavy concentrations of fluoride, lead and arsenic commonly found throughout the water tables of India, the water supplies need reverse osmosis and purification systems before it is safe to drink.

Water projects in India are in great demand and the needs widespread. The gratitude and appreciation when a water and sanitation project is implemented is expressed with joy and celebrations. Villagers and their leaders are eager to learn how to maintain and sustain these projects because clean, pure water means life. Clean, pure water means dramatic decreases in waterborne diseases such as dysentery, cholera and malaria. Infant mortality rates plummet. Overall quality of life increases.

When I returned home, I had a new appreciation of my blessings. It is sobering to be able to walk into my kitchen, fill my glass with water from the sink. We have to help people all over the globe have access to clean water – water is life!