Down the hill from our home is a community water supply. A single standpost with attached faucet sticks out from a large cement platform. Behind it, protected by a wall, stands a black water storage unit marked POLYTANK in large lettering. At dusk, groups of teenage boys and girls wait their turn to fill their large containers.
We walk slowly and watch as Grace’s container is filled to the very top. Another girl helps as she scoops it up from the ground onto her head in one continuous movement. Although the bucket is now securely centered on the rolled up scarf on her head, the water continues to move and splashes over to completely wet Grace’s face and back. She closes her eyes for a moment and seems to enjoy the cool shower.
She is headed in the same direction as us. We walk behind her, watching the water dancing above her head as she gracefully dodges potholes. Her hair is cut short like all the young girls that attend public school. We watch as her neck, carrying the bulk of the heavy weight above her, sways and shakes slightly. Her T-shirt and most of her skirt stick heavy and damp to her body. Her solid flat feet drag flimsy flip flops along the way.
I should be thinking about how privileged we are to be going home to take our nightly bath without a thought of where or how the water fills the tub. It would be right for me now to worry about all those who do not have access to clean water. But all I can think about is the absolute strength and beauty of Grace as we step on the wet trail she is leaving behind.