Being Mindful Of Having Water

Water is an important resource for all of us, from bathing to drinking. We use water daily without a second thought, but how would we fare if we ran the risk of losing it?

A photo essay depicting the danger of water shortage in Sierra Leone had me question how we would cope if we were in the same situation. The photo essay showed a stark environment surrounded by desert in one photo and pockets of water, as well as an area filled with water but displaying how sparse this resource is.

Mustafa Abdulaziz went to parts of Sierra Leone and created this photo essay to document the calamitous situation that has resulted in a cholera outbreak. While few of the photos do show places where water is accessible, that’s not the case in the capital, Freetown. Due to overcrowding and lack of clean water, it has resulted in the biggest cholera outbreak in early 2012. A photo that affected me most was a girl who was standing by a water well waiting to do her wash, but the basin didn’t have enough water to wash clothes or other uses.

Abdulaziz created this photo essay to make others aware of how water or lack of it has affected the people of Sierra Leone. He called his work “Water Is Gold” and it was quite telling since the search for water can be compared to mining for gold during the Gold Rush. The project described how water, which usually symbolizes life, has also brought death from lack of it. If we were faced with the same epidemic, how would we cope? If water were to become scarce, not as a result of tornadoes or other natural disasters, but mainly due to over-consumption, what would be our solution?

I, myself, have been guilty of running water continuously while washing dishes or washing clothes multiple times. It’s easy to take the resource we are so accustomed to having for granted until the resource becomes scarce or runs out. While we don’t live in Sierra Leone, the photo essay should serve as a warning because if we’re not mindful, we may lose the ability to sustain life as we know it for us and for generations to come. That’s my take on this, what’s yours?

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