Shoes to water? How?

Along with the announcement that students could bring in their used shoes to provide the people of Africa with water, came confusion.  Regardless, however, many students wanted to learn how they could help, and with that more explanation came and then more made sense.

“It was very informative.  Nobody really knew how shoes would equal water and where the money came from”, said Senior Kelsey Schacherbauer.

In short, the Ozark Water Project is ran through E.A.S.T. and was brought over by Karla and Allen Beckham.  After presenting a small slide show to select students the whole organizations actions were revealed.  Basically what happens is that our shoes are donated to them, and then they are sold to third party companies and shipped to the people in Africa who actually need them to wear.  After the third party companies have bought those shoes and sent them off, Ozark Water Project goes over to Africa and builds a well in communities and tribes that are in dire need of fresh water.  They also build a filtration system to ensure the quality is acceptable to drink.

“I think it’s a good cause, but I don’t get how they transform the shoes into water”, said junior Carley Mcgaugh, “but its good because its giving kids the opportunity to help other countries”.

With just making clean and drinkable water available, most medical problems will fix themselves.

“Poor water quality is the number one cause of death in the developing world”, said AP Environmental Science teacher Lynn Nokes.  “It is a privilege to get to participate in something designed to improve water quality in remote villages in Africa”.

As this is the first year that the school and E.A.S.T. have been a part of it, they’re mainly trying to get a feel as to what their goals are.

“Right now, our goals are to pretty much advertise, spread the word, and get 10,000 pairs of shoes from the school or ten from each person” said Seniors Luis Ramirez and Diego Cabellero.

Participating in the Ozark Water Project next year will be contingent upon the success of this year’s efforts.

“It depends on how everything works out if we’re going to do it again, but if not we at least got to participate and help out”, said Remirez.

When it comes to aiding these tribes in need, it is important to remember that being accessible to fresh water will effect people’s lives in more ways then just hygiene.  Some of the people in the tribe’s whole purpose is to go out and find any available water.  This job can often put them in harms way and take up huge amounts of time that they could otherwise be using to get an education.

“This changes lives because without the issue of having to focus on getting water, they can focus more on education” said Karla Beckham while coming to a conclusion of her presentation.