Monday, February 16, 2009

15th February, 2009.

Another day when, quite frankly, little serious birding could be done due to the weather. The mist was really thick at the onset and for most of the morning, lifted a little and then returned, receding more seriously towards evening. Hopeless!

And so more campaigning!! As you'll see in one of the comments, a friend had mentioned Water Aid as something gaining her support since visiting Ethiopia. Way back in the 1970's, when I was in Gambia, a commonplace sight was to see women and children carrying containers of water back to their villages from some local, natural, but not necessarily clean, supply. A necessary but demanding daily task!! More recent visits have shown the beneficial effects a "practical charity" , such as Water Aid, can achieve with safe water supplies now being present in the centre of each village. The design seems universal, with a pipe from the supply set centrally into a raised concrete plinth and a hand pump generating the flow of water. I suspect just as much gossip is exchanged as in out local post offices so other benefits arise from them too!!!

In Southern Ethiopia last March the heartrending sight of utterly emaciated cattle being driven many kilometres to a water supply brought home how close to the brink many people live, as villagers were in precisely the same predicament. Desperate circumstances demand desperate solutions, but to see people filling water cans from roadside puddles again reinforced the plight some have to face on a day to day basis. It was further rammed home when we had to visit three shops in order to find one where we could buy a bottle of water each!! A further key element was that we had the financial resources that allowed us to purchase a supply!! Setting all this against the absolute slendour of then seeing Ruspoli's Turaco, a very beautiful , but endangered bird, provided confusing contrasts and inner conflicts that required a lot of reflection on what is of real value!!
Anyway, to move these people away from such debilitating effects is precisely what Water Aid achieves where it can. It doesn't necessarily mean you donating money either. Helping their campaigns, usually by computer input, so it isn't onerous, is a key part of their functioning. So key into or use the new link opposite and, like me, set aside the shame of not having been involved before!!!

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