Did you know…this day used to be called International Working Women’s Day? I guess somewhere along the line someone realized that, whether it’s in or out of the home, women are working (and working hard) everyday.
And as I’m working, and taking another sip of spring water from water cooler, I’m thinking about the women who can’t just get up from their desks and get a glass of water because there is no ready access to it.
Maybe because I’ve always been able to turn on the tap and get as much water as I want, I’ve never thought of having water as a privilege. I drink a lot of it “straight” and also drink a fair amount of tea. I have a water filter on my kitchen sink for drinking and I keep bottled water in the trunk of my car – just in case I get thirsty while I’m on the road. I use water a lot – not for just for drinking, but for personal hygiene, washing clothes, cooking, watering my many plants, etc. I have water anytime I want it. And on the rare occasions when a storm or hurricane effects the free-flowing water in my house, I’m ticked off by the temporary inconvenience.
It fascinates me that not everyone has the same experience with something so common to me. That everyone can’t just turn on the tap and watch the water pour out.
But I am most fascinated by the women, young and old women alike, who live in countries like Africa, India, and Haiti. These women walk blocks or sometimes miles, and often more than once a day, just to get water for themselves and their families. They carry the water back to their homes on their heads in jugs or buckets or some other vessel. They get it where they can find it, maybe in a lake or pond. If they’re lucky, some women can pump the water from a well or fill their buckets from the town spigot, which is only open for a couple hours each day. Sometimes, especially when it’s free-for-all water, it isn’t even clean – but some water is better than none.
For those women, the water girls, bringing water home is part of their everyday routine. Maybe getting water is the same to them as stopping at the food store to pick up dinner on the way home from work is for me. OK, maybe not. But they’re doing their job as competent, loving women just like you and I are doing ours.
Water is essential to life – and is often used in analogies to represent life, energy, and spiritual energy. The writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery (he wrote The Little Prince), once said, “Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses. And Benjamin Franklin said, “When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”
A lot of us can identify with the feeling of the well being dry – if not in the physical sense, then in our spirit or emotions.
So today I’m celebrating those women – and you – and me. We’re the ones who find the water, wherever it is, and share it with those whom we love. And BRAVA to us for doing it!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Photo credit: sushmita balasubramani from flickr