Drinking water safely on a mission trip
Staying hydrated during your mission trip can be somewhat of a challenge. When I was in Uganda, I had some scary experiences with drinking water that made me want to inform others about the dangers of drinking water in third world countries like Uganda.
Water is not available in many countries as it is in the United States. Many Africans walk many miles to “fetch water” from various sources and wells. I saw women and children with large jerrycans of water on top of their heads, which are used to carry water from village to village. This water is not fit for drinking. Many people suggest that this water be thoroughly boiled for at least eight minutes before it is safe to drink or even brush your teeth with. This boiling process helps rid the water of contaminants that can cause serious illness.
Waterborne diseases are caused by microorganisms that are consumed through fresh water sources. Every year, many people around the world die from such diseases. Some of these can be prevented through healthy and safe water consumption practices.
While in Uganda, I noticed that some water bottles sold on the street in various street markets were not safe to drink. Some villagers are known to tamper with water bottles before selling them to travelers from other countries. This is a way people make money with unfair business practices. This water tampering can be detected by checking the bottom of the water bottle you are selling before paying for it. An easy way to check is to turn the bottle upside down and check the bottom for signs of tampering. They will usually be very small and even hard to spot. But on closer inspection, small holes will be noticed. When you spot them, politely apologize for not buying water and find another merchant.
Some water from natural sources is safe for consumption after a distillation process. You’ll want to make sure you follow safe practices when consuming water in foreign countries, even water that’s offered for sale.
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