Walking for Water: Helping the World, One Country at a Time

By Courtney Strykiewicz
A version of this article was originally published in The Heritage High School - The Paw Print on May 05, 2010 .

Imagine walking six to ten hours to obtain a necessity of life: water. This is what children and woman must do in Burkina Faso, an African country where water is scarce and droughts occur frequently. Walking for Water is an organization that puts together a walk to help build wells for the people in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It is one of the poorest countries in the world and is close to the Sahara Desert.

“What they would call a river [there] would be considered a stream here,” said Mrs. Mariah Gunderson, a Biology and Environmental studies teacher.

Walking for Water is a walk connected with Wisdom Spring, a non-profit organization that helps raise money to dig wells in Burkina Faso. One well costs $10,000 and with the help of Wisdom Springs, Walking for Water has raised enough money to build 20 wells.

Wisdom Spring’s motto is “to reclaim the land and rich culture that sustains indigenous life,” said Susan Hough, the Youth Project Coordinator at Wisdom Spring.

The walk will be held on May 8, and walkers can choose to walk a 5K or a 10k. Many students are involved in helping raise to money for the walk, and participating in the walk. Kristen Karinshak, as a sophomore in 2003, created the walk when a woman named Sobonfu Somé came to talk about the harsh conditions in Burkina Faso.

“Kristen Karinshak actually started the group, [and] her story inspired me,” said sophomore Eric Orellana.

The club meets every Thursday to discuss finding sponsors to raise money, and other ways to help Burkina Faso.

This year Walking for Water, is joining with Stone Bridge to help raise even more money and help build more wells.

The two schools will compete to help raise money in events like “egg run, water balloon toss, and tug of war” said Orellana.

The club does not just help build wells in Burkina Faso.

“We donate money to build wells and help children get their education,” said sophomore Reema Riat.

Wisdom Spring has helped educated 300 children in a country whose annual income is five dollars, and it costs $30 to enroll a child into elementary school.

Hough has been to Burkina Faso with Kristen Karinshak and witnessed the first five wells being put in. “I plan on going back in the winter,” said Hough. Walking for Water’s goal is to raise $75,000, enough money to build seven wells.

“[Burkina Faso] believe that every child has a special unique gift to the world [and] they teach us a lot about life,” said Hough. “Everything about [Walking for Water] has changed my life.”

Some people agree that many take things for granted especially things that are necessary for life.

“We are lucky to have water,” said Orellana.