My name is Jamie, and I'm 12 years old. My family and I recently travelled to Tanzania, where we visited the Mikocheni Primary School.
The Situation: Mikocheni Primary School (MPS) has 6 teachers, including the principal, to educate 450 students. Many of these kids need to walk more than 10 kilometers (over 6 miles) to get to school. All of that is hard for us to imagine, but here's the real catch: there is no source of water near the school. Since the school and the village of Chemchem is so poor, they can't afford to build a well. This is a big problem for a lot of reasons.
1. Brains like water. Your brain needs to be well-hydrated in order to function properly. When your brain doesn't have enough water, your memory is compromised. Your short-term memory doesn't work as well, so learning becomes very difficult. Also, I think we can all agree that it's hard to focus when you haven't had anything to drink in 8 hours. 2. If the kids want to stay hydrated, they have to carry heavy jugs of water for over 10 KILOMETERS. By the time they get to school, the students are already tired from lugging a gallon of water across the Tanzanian desert. But, if they can't bring a jug or can't bring enough water, their education will be affected anyway because they'll be dehydrated. 3. News flash: Africa is HOT! We all know that our bodies need water. In a non-airconditioned hut smack-dab in the middle of a desert, you would REALLY need water; but these kids don't get enough. Chronic dehydration leads to anxiety, depression, and even heart palpitations. The students spend 8 hours at school, in addition to walking there and back, so they are all at risk for these medical complications.
So, let's help them! With the well, the MPS kids will do better in school because they'll be less tired and less dehydrated. If they are doing better in school, then they will be more successfull when they grow up, and live a better life.
Before I visited Tanzania, I took for granted that I have easy access to water whenever I want, air conditioning, plenty of food, medicine, a great education, and so much more. I'll bet that a lot of you have taken these things for granted, too. The children at Mikocheni have none of this, but we can give them something that would change their lives.