Without water we die. “We know when we are created that this will be our life,” says Gale Deyknto, as she bends to hoist a Gerry can of water weighing 80 pounds onto her back. To find water she may have to walk 2 hours or 2 days, up and down mountainsides, across deserts, risking attack by men who do not want her water but her body.
The women in these photographs live in Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia but share this fate with females all over the developing world. Women and girls are the water carriers, and because of that they are at risk for injury, disease and attack. Girls are beasts of burden; their brothers are students and prospective earners. Whether water is pulled up hand over hand from a “singing well” dug into the Kenyan earth or ”scratched” from a Tanzanian riverbed, it is precious.
On occasion, a miracle happens. A well is dug. A water line is stretched from one village to another. And with that abundance, villagers begin simple, life saving acts—washing their hands, growing better food, sending their girls to school.