The majority of the human body consists of this substance and the majority of the earth’s surface is also covered with this substance. It is the only substance to naturally occur in all three states (liquid, solid, gas) on earth. Over 42 billion tons of this substance was gathered together in China and the shift in mass on earth’s surface caused the earth’s rotation to slow by almost 0.06 microseconds a day, and the poles to shift by nearly two centimeters. What is this versatile, ubiquitous, and powerful substance? I am sure most of you have already guessed it. It’s water.
Where does your water come from? What do you use water for and is it important to conserve water? These questions and more were explored at our most recent KHA learning experience day where we focused on water as resource.
(A field trip to our well)
Americans, on average, will use almost 400 liters of water a day. Europeans generally use less than half of that amount. However, most people around the world consume only 10-20 liters a day. This is a shocking statistic; however, many people around Kibuye will collect water at the stream or a community tap and carry it back to their house. On our walk from the well in the valley up to the water storage tanks above the hospital, we imagined carrying 25 to 40 pounds of water that distance. The walk alone, with nothing to carry, was enough to wear out some of us and it was much easier to consider ways of conserving water.
On our nature walk, the kids collected water samples from a community tap supplied by the same well that supplies our faucets at home, from a stream in fields where some laundry was being done, from a puddle, and finally from a rain water collection tank at the school.
(DIY Water Filters)
Once we were back inside, the water samples arranged around the building for the students to examine by look and smell. Microscopes were used to get an up-close view of the water. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), we did not see much floating around in the water when inspected through the microscope. Each water sample had its own unique scent, although, the rainwater had the most distinct smell. We never reached a consensus on exactly what the rainwater smelled like, but the scent of rubber cement received more than one vote.
(Examining water samples)
After some water games and story time, we finished our water day in the waterlogged mud of a rice field. Each of the kids had the opportunity to kick their shoes off, squish the mud (and other stuff) between their toes, and learn how to cultivate rice. Amazingly, rice is grown in one small patch until it begins to mature. At this point it is individually removed and replanted, one at a time.