In November, our family went on a mission trip to Nicaragua. Our team dug trenches and helped with the construction of a school in two different communities during our week there. When we returned to the States, my daughters came across the book A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park. This novel is written from the point of view of two 11-year-olds in Sudan. The book covers both history and geography and exposes readers to the harsh realities of life for people in other parts of the world. It is a story of hope and perseverance, and the book provides a reason to discuss how to get involved and make a difference in this world. Please note this book is written for readers ages 10 and up. There are several sad and frightening sections that may upset younger readers.
As in Nicaragua, access to clean water is a huge issue for many Sudanese communities. Days are spent getting water to survive, yet the water is not safe to drink. A Long Walk to Water struck a chord in our family, and it got me thinking...
World Thinking Day is February 22nd. This year's global theme is Grow. While the intent is to invite other girls to join in the Girl Scout Movement, two goals for Thinking Day are:
- Take action and speak out on issues we most care about
- Make a difference by fundraising for projects around the world
In Nicaragua, Amigos for Christ comes alongside community leaders to help improve the standard of living for people there. They also build into the spiritual lives of the people they meet.
Water for South Sudan is the organization highlighted in A Long Walk to Water. As in Nicaragua, the villagers provide labor to drill the wells, and one well may serve thousands of people. With clean water, women and children don't have to
spend their days walking for water. Kids can go to school, which promises a brighter future. With a well, there are healthier pregnancies, and marketplaces can be supported. "Where safe water flows, life can blossom."
As your girls consider their options for Thinking Day this year, I encourage you to introduce them to A Long Walk to Water. Read the book on your own and modify the story for younger girls. Maybe they'll be moved to choose to learn more about Nicaragua or Sudan this February. "Where safe water flows, life can blossom. #LetsGrow" would look great on a poster! Both organizations mentioned in this post offer a variety of ways to get involved and give. Water for South Sudan provides helpful tips on their website for organizing a fundraiser.
While bumping around the WFSS website, I learned about the H2O Project:
- Make water your only beverage for 2 weeks.
- Save the money you would usually spend on beverages.
- After 2 weeks, donate the money you saved and give someone clean water for a lifetime.
Just think of the money that could be raised by your family, Girl Scout troop, school, or Service Unit! If your troop chooses such a challenge, I'd love to hear about it. Thank you for reading.