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© 2016 Opportunity Internationala 501(c)3 nonprofit.

A Reflection on the Occasion of World Water Day

By Brad Skeba

I drank the water.

There’s a reason a hotel in a place like this stocks at least four bottles of sealed water with each turndown. It’s not a surprise to find zero tumblers sitting rim-down next to the bathroom sink just waiting to be used.

This is a Nice Hotel - perhaps the best in the city (country?) - and still the message is clear:

In a hotel in a city in a country on a continent like this, you still don’t drink the water. Sorry, bottles on the house. - mgmt

So, of course, I drank the water.

It was like this:

The room hadn’t been turned down for days due to liberal use of the Do Not Disturb placard. I woke in the dead of the night with one of those jump-outta-bed thirsts. All the while I knew there was not a bottle to be found. I beelined to the bathroom faucet and ran the tap to cold. There was a brief debate in my head, and the prevailing thought that won was this:

Surely, in a hotel in a city in a country on a continent like this, it’s gonna probably sorta most-assuredly be okay to drink the water. Right?

I drank the water. And it was cold and I made sure to take off the Do not Disturb sign in the morning and get back on the bottled water.

And in retrospect, it was okay. I felt fine. Maybe I was lucky, but what I truly believe is that the state and quality of water is improving in countries like this. And not just in Nice Hotels and big cities, but in the outskirts, too. And it’s good for the local economy and it’s great for the health and well-being of those working to break out of poverty.

So many of Opportunity International’s clients are working to make clean water a right for all communities. In the process they are working their way out of poverty and transforming their families trajectory.

World Water Day Opportunity International Clients

The woman in black, Helen, lives in Kampala, Uganda and I met her at a Trust Group Meeting. She employs her whole family in her furniture-manufacturing business. The success they have experienced as they’ve built their business through Opportunity’s loans and savings has enabled them to begin offering clean water to their community. With the business’ earnings, they purchased the rights to the municipal water line on their property. Now, in addition to the furniture operation, the family earns extra income by charging a nominal fee to their neighbors for clean water.

World Water Day Opportunity International

So even though, it’s poor form to toast with water, I raise a glass to her and wish us all a happy World Water Day.

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