I’m not cut out for living without indoor plumbing.

This isn’t a new discovery.

Nor is it new that I would not do well if I had to carry water from the source to my home. I got an extremely small taste of what this might be like on April 15 during the 15th annual Walk4Water event in Chico that is put on by Bridging the Gap.

A participant in the April 15 water walk uses a yolk to carry his jugs. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

The nonprofit raises money to bring drinking water to places in need. It has provided 55,000 Africans clean water, sanitation, and hygiene training.

The tiny taste of hauling came via having the bucket I brought that was then filled with ater from Big Chico Creek. (The walk was in Lower Bidwell Park.)

From seeing the ground marked with splotches of water it was clear not everyone was going to arrive with a full bucket. If our loads really mattered, would we be more careful? Probably.

We didn’t even have to walk the whole 1.5 miles with the water.

My right arm has had issues for decades. Carrying anything in my right, stronger, dominant hand causes pain mostly in the elbow area. That’s why horseshoes isn’t fun for me and bowling usually is via my left arm. So, mostly I carried my bucket with my left hand. But it’s weaker. So then I hung the bucket of water on my right forearm, but that was a less steady endeavor. Back to the left arm it went.

I didn’t complain. Really, what was there to complain about? This was all my choice to participate.

All ages walk with water buckets during the April 15 fundraiser in Chico. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

I know I have it easy with all the modern conveniences of the 21st century. I also know I take for granted that I have potable water in my home.

As we (me, mom and Priscilla) walked, volunteers walked in the opposite direction carrying informational signs that said things like: “3 hours a day is the average time spent collecting water by women and children.”

Would I suck it up, endure the pain to provide water for my family? Of course. But one can only do so much. Maybe it would take me more trips or longer than three hours.

When my family lived in Stanley, N.D., in 1962 (before I was born) mom had to walk about four block every other day with two 5-gallon buckets to retrieve potable water. This was because what came out of the faucet had so much alkaline that it was impossible to drink or cook with it.

In the winter her hands froze to the handles.

I didn’t know any of this until we started talking about doing the walk.

Several informative stations were along the route. One had us try four types of water—tap, well, cheap bottled water, high-end bottled water. Mom and I liked the tap the best. I thought I could taste minerals in it. It tasted real. The others tasted bland for lack of a better description.

It was certainly an educational morning.

Pin It on Pinterest