What Does Clean Water Mean to You?

Written by MMS Team Highlands Students Reece Gardner, Colby Taylor, Jacob Thomas, Tieran Croft

In our social studies class, at Messalonskee Middle School, our teacher, Jamie Routhier, had our class read a book called A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park. This book started as just another class read but turned into so much more. This book has impacted our lives so much. It has changed our perspective on everything, including the way we drink water or take showers. People often don’t think about how other people, all over the world, don’t have access to clean water. This book is a reminder of how few people in the world actually have access to clean water. This has been a unit we will remember forever.

The book is about boy named  Salva in 1985 and a girl named Nya in 2008. One day while Salve was at school, civil war came to Salva’s village and ultimately he was forced to go to a refugee camp. He couldn’t find his family so he had to travel alone with a couple of people. When he made it to the refugee camp, a couple years later, people forced them out and he was shot at. Salva gets away by getting into a river and swims for what feels like hours until he finally reaches the safety of shore. Salva then leads a group of about 1,500 boys to a refugee camp in Kenya where he waits a few years until he finds a home in Rochester, New York. Salva then starts an organization called Water for South Sudan, the organization drills wells for villages that don’t have access to clean water.

The other story in this book is about Nya. Her story is told in the year 2008, everyday she has to walk miles to get to a pond that is filled with dirty muddy water that she bathes in and drinks. She then brings it back to her family. But one day she comes back to her village to notice that some people are building a water well so people don’t have to walk as far to get any kind of water. This water well will give her village clear and refreshing water and not muddy and contaminated water.

After we read A Long Walk to Water we had to write about what the book meant to us and create water scarves to sell. Before reading this book I knew that there were people in third world countries who didn’t have clean water to drink and use. Since starting this unit I now realize how bad this clean water situation really is, it is a water crisis.

Our whole team, of 83 students, created and sold water scarves to raise money for WaterAid. The water scarves were made to look like moving water along the scarf. Students worked with glass beads and elastics and then the scarves were pressure cooked for 90 minutes each. All the proceeds are going to WaterAid and Water for Southern Sudan. We raised 560.00 to be donated by Team Highlands by selling water scarves. WaterAid is an organization that builds wells for people in Sudan and gives them clean water to drink. We are hoping people will starting thinking about what water means to them. This is a unit we will always remember.

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