Friday, September 10, 2010

The Burden of Thirst

For my Biology class at BYU I was given an assignment to research a current issue. I started scanning through some articles and thought that this article called The Burden of Thirst sounded interesting. However, at first I was just reasearching it for my class but then the article really impacted me. I want to share some of the things that I learned. We have so much to be grateful for in America and issues like this help me realize how much I have been given.
The article outlines the problem by pinpointing a village in Ethiopia. Due to a never ending drought, women are expected to travel daily far distances to try and find water. However, the water they find is not clean. The average women makes this trek for water 3 times a day taking up about 8 hours of her time. The trip is dangerous because the terrain is steep and slippery. The women usually carry around 50 lbs of water on their backs (Rosenberg, 2)!

You may wonder why the men don't do this job. I learned that a women's value is determined by her hard work. If a man is seen carrying the water then it is concluded that the wife is lazy and stupid. Even after a women has given childbirth she is expected after 1-2 weeks to continue her daily task. However, when a women is seen making this trek she is viewed by the villagers as intelligent and valuable (Rosenberg, 5).

You can imagine the consequences of not having a mother around. In this small village in Ethiopia it is common to see 4 year-old children taking care of their little brothers and sisters! Some children do help to go and find water but only unitl the age of 7 or 8. After that, villagers will assume the wife is lazy and laying unneeded burdens on her children. However, little girls start their career's young. Many girls have to drop out of school as young as 8 to help carry water to sustain their families (Rosenberg, 6).

Did you know that 900 million people don't have access to clean water?! How often do I take for granted my faucet every morning which provides me with clean water, even if it wont ever get cold?! Also, 2.5 billion people have no safe way to dispose human waste. Instead human waste is deposited in fields and rivers! In consequence, 3.3 million people die from dirty water and lack of hygenie every year. Sadly, most deaths are of children under the age of 5 (Rosenberg, 7)!

Furthermore, the little money that these people have is spent on visits to the doctor to clear out pestisides and diarrhea. 70% of patients that are treated in this Ethiopian village suffer from waterborne diseases. In consequence, they do not have enough money to even buy soap (Rosenberg, 8)!

So what can be done??

One thing that can be done is construction of wells. Merz, Nakarmi, and Weingarther have been investigating this process. A potential problem to wells that they have found is that water found close to the ground is often contaminated. They are currently in the process of constructing ways to get water deeper in the earth. A second solution they have found is called fog collection. However, again it is difficult for people to depend on fog for all of their water (Juerg, 17).

A third solution is to teach them propper farming techniques. S. F. Tyrell has been researching different ways to purify water. Tyrell has come up with a system called the "Solid-Based Recirculation System". He experimented with this by applying equal amounts of dirty water to 3 different land planes. Next, he applied his treatment to the different planes. There was a 90% removal of pollutants. If the people in these villages could be taught propper farm mechanisms then the little water that they have could be purified. This in return could decrease the amount of deaths by providing clean water (Tyrell, 75).

Furthermore, there are many organizations trying to help these people filter their water. Namely, A Glimmer of Hope, CARE, WaterAid, and Water. org are fundamental organizations. There goals are to install latrines to keep fields clean and sanitary. Also, they are working on building dams to save what little water can be used.

However, is there anything else that we can really do? One great thing is to volunteer to make sanitary kits. If the people of Ehiopia had soap to clean, the result could be substantial. Kits would also provide towels, napkins, and toliet paper. If we took a little bit of our time and money to put together these kits we could truly make a difference.

Finally, perhaps the best thing we can do is to be grateful and recognize our blessings. I have been given so much. When I find myself complaining I am going to try and remember these people who live such difficult lives and remember all that I have been given.


Merz, Juerg. "Potential Solutions to Water Scarcity." Mountain Research and Development. 23. (2003): 14-18. Print.

Rosenberg, Tina. "The Burden of Thirst." National Geographic. December 2008: 1-8. Print.

Tyrell, S.F. "Treatment of Dirty Water." Water Science Technology. 51. (2005): 73-79. Print.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Amazon!!!

This last week I have been in the Amazon!! While I was excited to see the Amazon I have to admit that I was also really dreading the trip as it would be the first time that I would be the only one with our church values. At school whenever anyone would even mention the trip I would get a huge pit in my stomach. I even considered not going but through a lot of prayer I decided I could do it. I had a complete change of heart one night after reading my scriptures and actually got really excited to go!! I loved seeing how the scriptures blessed my life as I had to read them at the beginning of everyday to give me strength and to recharge my batteries.

Me and Bruce...ha ha

The first day once we flew to Manaus and then we went to see a show at the Teatro Theater. Apparently it is one of the most famous opera houses! We went to dinner that night at a Churasscaria which had the BEST cooked pineapple covered in cinnamon sugar. Yum... The next day we went down a river in the middle of the jungle in canoes! It was so pretty!! We then hiked through the jungle! However our guide was a little indian man who didnt understand that we did not like to hike through swamps and rivers and then would just laugh at us while we would scream and groan! It was so hot that my pants were glued to me and everybody's shirts were soaked. Thanks to the hiking through ponds we all also had soggy feet in tennis shoes. It would have been okay if I hadnt had to stay in those clothes for 7 more hours!! Despite my complaining it was actually really fun and one of my favorite days!!

Hiking through the forest
That night as I was about to fall asleep there was a knock at out door. It was a teacher who said that there was an emergence meeting down at the pool. I got down there to find very angry teachers who had caught at least 3/4 of the grade smoking in the non-smoking rooms, guys and girls in each others rooms, and had received many complaints about the noise level. (The boys had been running up and down the hallways shooting each other with blow dart guns!!) I felt very blessed to have the roomate that I had because the person I was going to room with was caught in a lot of trouble. It was just another instance of Heaven looking out for me!

More random pics...

Wednesday we went to the actual Amazon River! I was awesome! Unfortunately I do not have any pictures. It was raining so hard in the morning that I was scared to take it and didnt know we were going to the river. The spot where the Rio Negre (i think) and the Amazon come together is so cool! The rivers are the two most distinct colors. One is a yellow brown sick color and the other the normal bluish-black color. We visited people who actually live on the Amazon in floating houses. There homes were tiny but they did have a T.V. which was ran by a car battery!! While on the Amazon there was a floating museum with animals just sitting around not caged or anything. I saw a HUGE snake, eels, crockadilles, really cute monkeys, sloths which are sooo cute too, and an electric eel!! Did you know that an electric eel can kill a horse??!! Yeah it was kindof scary!!

sorry its not the best pic but that is a sloth

After returning from the Amazon we went out to eat. Two boys sat next to me and decided that they wanted to get to know me. They figured out I was Mormon and started asking a whole bunch of questions. This turned into a 4 hour religious discussion!! (no I did not eat anything as I was talking the whole time) One of the boys asking the questions was interested but also seemed to try and catch me in my words. (Mostly everyone at the table was also atheist which made things a bit more difficult.) I was praying the whole time that I would know what to say and everytime without even realizing it I was answering questions and knew exactly what to say. I often had to stop and say that I dont know everything but then would bare my testimony. In the end I bribed them with a Sunday dinner and they agreed to come over and talk with the missionaries!!! I dont know if they will follow through but i was still pretty excited! Two of the boys were very religious Christians who knew a lot about the Bible so after we talked and they were very interested. I would explain things and one of them would say "yeah we believe that-wait do we?" it was so funny! One time I was explaining something about the premortal life and he was like "wow thats weird" and the other kid was like "just accept it man-keep going". It really was so funny! They were so accepting and at the end of the night I gave them my Book of Mormon for the night!! Im not going to lie it was exhausting!!

An Indian church (i need help someone i dont know how to flip it)

Thursday we went back to the Rio Negre river to swim in it! On the way there my two friends from the night before wanted to listen to my "gospel music" on my ipod! So they listened to all of my efy songs and mo-tab! ha ha In exchange i listened to their gospel music which was actually really good too! One of them is probably going to come to seminary too since we are studying the New Testament. Once we got to the river we went to see an indian rubber plantation which was cool and then went to a beach! We swam in the Rio Negre which was the warmest water. Seriously bathing temp! After, we visited an indian tribe and I got a lot of really cute souvenirs! That night we went to a dinner and show which was really cool but could have definitely been shown in Vegas. ha ha The costuming was really cool, however, and it reminded me a lot of Lion King on broadway if you have seen that.

I was definitely the only one in a tainkini ha ha
I was very excited when Friday rolled around cuz it was the day to go home!! I had an idea before I left to bring along my portuguese Book of Mormon. Earlier in the week I had the idea that I could write my testimony in portuguese in the front cover and mark Moroni 10:4-5 and leave it for the maid. As we were packing i decided not to but then couldnt get the idea out of my head. So finally I wrote my testimony in the small bit of portuguese that i knew and was so excited when i opened up the book and saw that there was a pass-along card in the book! I dont remember putting it there but i must have at some point. So I used it as a bookmarker and stuck it in Moroni! I think it was Elder Bednar that said that there are no such things in life as coincidences but only tender mercies! I made my bed and set the book on it for the maid. I dont know if anything will come out of it but I pray that I may have at least planted a small seed!

just twist your head and you can see some more of the jungle...

So after returning home I was so happy that I ended up going! It was definitely something that I will never forget! By the way today in church we had our primary program! It was the cutest thing I have ever seen to see the little Brazilian and American kids put a program together! The Brazilians were soooo cute!!! Everything here is going well and I have even started to figure out whats wrong with my stomach. It has been concluded that I definitely have a really bad allergy to milk! However Dad had me stop taking all of the medications I was on and I have found as long as I eat TONS of fruit, dont snack or eat cholcolate, and have zero milk I am fine!! That is the biggest blessing in my life right now to be able to be healthy! I love you all and miss you!! (by the way if anyone is reading this with similary problemes i have figured out the key is to just each lots and lots of fruit!! it really works!!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Paintballing is so not my thing!!

So I only have about three seconds to write because I am going to the Amazon tomorrow and have to pack!! Gabi, a girl in my ward, had a birthday party where we all went paintballing. I found myself the whole time hiding and shooting my gun in random directions so i could run out of the little balls and get out of the game. Sadly i got shot in the face three times the arm 4 times and leg twice! Yeah it really hurt too incase you were wondering!! My hair was yellow!!! It was fun though between the rare moments that i wasn't getting shot out!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Just For Holly!!

My room!!

So I hope everyone hasnt given up on me yet!!! I am making and update just for you Holly!! We have now hit our 2 months and a few days mark and I can not tell if it has gone by super fast or super slow!! Now that school has started it feels like the days can drag on but they weeks fly by! Go figure!!! My life has been made complete with the incorporation of technology in my day! Today I watched the BYU game on one computer while emailing my friend at the game about every two seconds (she has a sweet phone where I can email her and she receives it as a text) on another computer, talked to my friends on facebook, texted some friends on my cell phone, and finished it off by talking to my brother on the vontage phone!! Well i guess you could say I'm addicted!! Who says you cant multi-task!!

So here is how my average day goes. I wake up at 6 a.m., go downstairs to pick up a taxi to go to early morning seminary at 6:45, go to school till 3:10, come home and go running with my friend Tearsa, get back eat dinner, do about 15 min. of homework, and head to bed! I am loving life...15 min of homework a night!!! Life is chill!! (knock on wood)

Our Friends from School

This weekend my friend (who is the bomb!!!) and I went to hang out with some guy church friends who we met at a church activity! Only one of them spoke English so we had a lot of fun playing charades! They have given us portuguese nicknames. I am Mandinjheea! (yeah i have no idea how to pronounce it/kind of depressing I cant even pronounce my own name...oh well) and Jess is Jeeha or something like that! They are determined to turn us into Brazilians so they are working on getting our portuguese down and trying to convince us to ride the buses...yeah not happening!! One of the guys plays the guitar and was singin American songs and it felt like we were home for a second!!

Jess and I

So to sum up... my last few months have been probably every emotion possible but mostly fun. I have had more time than ever in my life to study my scriptures and strengthen my own testimomy and draw closer to my Savior. I feel like I have been stretched just about as far as I can be stretched but the Lord has always been there to fill in the gaps. I have a new favorite scripture which I see working in my life everyday:

Alma 13: 28

"But that ye would humble yourselves before the Lord, and call on his holy name, and watch and pray continually, that ye may not be tempted above that which ye can bear, and thus be led by the Holy Spirit, becoming humble, meek, submissive, patient, full of love and all long-suffering"

This scripture has brought me much comfort to know that when the Lord gives us challenges he also prepares the way for us to overcome them. It reminds me of the scripture D&C 122:7 when Joseph is told that all his trials shall give him experience and shall be for his own good.
It also reminds me of a quote from Brigham Young:

"Every calamity that can come upon mortal beings will be suffered to come upon the few, to prepare them to enjoy the presene of their Lord. Every trial and experiene you have passed throught is essential for your salvation"

I love this quote because it reminds me that every time I am going throught a trial that I am just becoming more prepared to be in my Saviors presence and I am being better prepared to enjoy eternal life.

Wow I really didn't mean for this to be so long and I promise Holly from now on I will be much better at updating my blog! Have a good week!

p.s. for everyone wondering my parents are amazing and blow my mind!! My mom speaks so well (or at least I think from what i can tell but everyone seems to understand her...maybe there just nice...just kidding mom) and my Dad somehow manages to find time for all of us imbetween answering his 4 different cell phones!!

p.s.s GOOOO COUGS!!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Amanda has a blog!!!!!!!

Welcome to my blog!! Life is crazy right now. We are trying to get everything ready to move to Brazil!! Sorry if this is not updated for awhile but I will get it all done as soon as I have time!!