Group plans three water walks in 2013
By STEPH TAHTINEN
Mt. Pleasant News
Water Our Thirsty World is expanding its annual Water Walk to provide even more safe drinking water around the world.
“It’s growing in size the third year,” said Marcia Baldrige, administrative director of Water Our Thirsty World. “It’s been really good. Local awareness and the global impact have definitely increased.”
Water Our Thirsty World is local non-profit run by Todd and Marcia Baldridge of Mt. Pleasant. The organization makes chlorine devices and distributes them to parts of the world that do not have safe drinking water. Each device can produce enough chlorine to make unsafe water safe to drink for 1,000 people per day for several years.
To raise awareness and funds for their cause, Water Our Thirsty World holds an annual Water Walk. This year marks the third annual walk in Mt. Pleasant, which will begin at 6 p.m. on April 25 on the Iowa Wesleyan College Campus. In addition, this year there will be walks held in Mediapolis on April 24 and Urbandale on April 26.
During the Water Walk, participants travel one mile carrying two gallons of water, equal to about 16 pounds. The walk is symbolic of the hardship that many in the world face when they are required to walk long distances each day to search for water.
“I don’t walk very far for water. I walk to my kitchen faucet or my refrigerator,” said Marcia Baldridge. “That’s a commodity that we have no idea that the majority of the world lives with far less than that.”
The Baldridges, however, have witnessed this hardship as they have traveled to places such as Zambia, Thailand, India and Nepal to distribute chlorine devices.
“Every country that we go to, we see children spending countless hours —not being able to go into school — going to collect water that is dirty,” said Marcia Baldridge. “And where they’re already suffering from malnutrition, and then you pile a waterborne disease that causes diarrhea on top of that, that’s a lose-lose situation. They might not be our children, but they’re somebody’s children. We need to look after them.”
Last year’s Water Walk brought in $20,000, and over the past 12 months, Water Our Thirsty World has distributed 212 chlorination systems to over 10 countries and dug two wells.
“We’ve experienced being out in the countries that not only do we need to give them water treatment systems, but sometimes we need to improve the source that they’re accessing their water from,” said Marcia Baldridge.
“To walk up to a village with 1,000 people where these people earn less than $1 a day and having them all be gathered around with their pots, and to start pumping water out of the well and to see the joy on their faces because today they wouldn’t have to walk… there really aren’t any words,” she continued.
With three walks planned this year, the Baldridges hope to help even more people in the coming year.
“We’ve got great partners, we’ve got a great need for water, so we’re expanding on those projects. It’s limitless,” said Todd Baldridge.
For more information, call 319-931-6608 or visit www.ourthirstyworld.org.