Thursday, September 24, 2009
Irena Salina's FLOW, For Love of Water part 1
This past summer Bekah and I spent time in Springfield, MO working with missionary kids (if you aren't sure what that is, go here)
As part of orientation for the new mks, we lived out in the wilderness (ok, semi-wilderness) for five days and four nights without access to running water down by the camp. With the nearest drinking water source about a mile up the road, I elected to cut down on our admittedly already large footprint and limit our bottled water and Gatorade in favor of drinking regular water from a hose.
This immediately alarmed some (Is it sanitary to store it in the reusable plastic bin? Is the hose itself clean?) and I had to back away from my original intent (having kids walk a mile plus and carry forty pounds of water back on foot turned out to be too extreme) of recreating the struggle for survival for many people around the world. However, we drank the water, it tasted fine, no one got sick and I guess full disclosure forces me to admit that I had a Brita filter in my King of Mu Kappa camp. It also turned out to be so hot (100 degrees plus 90 percent humidity) that our acclimatized systems couldn't stand it and we had to leave the camp twice for fear of rampant heat exhaustion.
All that to say, I watched Irena Salina's FLOW with my own set of experiences giving me just the slightest taste of what it must be like to live without easy, municipal access to clean water. The film is well-made and insightful, although it suffers from the same problem that nearly every documentary made post-Michael Moore's "Roger and Me", in that it is somewhat one-sided and the filmmaker clearly began with an established agenda rather than setting out intent on discovering a nuanced story.
This doesn't make it any less necessary or VITAL though. The most startling statistic about clean water is that everyone in the world could have access to it for around US $30 billion while $100 billion was spent last year on bottled water alone.
In a world where ONE Billion people live on less than $1 a day and millions live without access to clean water or basic medical services, it is crucial that the voices of those in the margins not be overshadowed by powerful corporations and banks. Films like this one are an important tool in the fight to end extreme poverty because they shine a light on hidden places and expose injustice. It's important though that we work towards solutions, and that we take action. In part two of this post, we'll focus on how each of us could actually be part of the solution to bring clean water to the world.