It all happened one day in class, when we started to read "A Long Walk to Water," by Linda Sue Park; a book that juxtaposes the stories of Nya and Salva, two children from Sudan. Salva is a boy from a civil war, who has had to walk more than 1,000 miles, parched and searching for a precious drop of water to keep him alive. Nya is a girl who has fetched water for her family her entire life. She follows a schedule . . . of exhaustion, disease and poverty.
In October, we took part in a 7th grade Water Walk. Kids from our school walked two miles carrying three gallons of water. It was much harder than it seems. We learned about the African water crisis and how it affects 1.2 billion people worldwide. It inspired one 7th grader to tackle this massive challenge in her own way.
Lily Mongan, known by her peers and teachers as an outstanding athlete, musician and student, decided that this problem wasn't going to go away by itself, and someone needed to do something. She found the website: thewaterproject.org, a charity where people can create their own fundraisers to raise money for a well. She then reached out and held her own a community wide scale of the 7th grade Water Walk.
East Hampton is a coastal town. Members of our community who want to participate will bring their buckets, one Saturday in May, and fill them up with ocean water and walk a mile along the beach. They can get sponsors for every gallon, and we'll sell T-shirts and merchandise to raise money and awareness. The water crisis affects billions, and it takes a few dedicated people to help. Every donation counts, because where you live shouldn't determine whether you live!