Today is Blog Action Day, and the topic is water.

There were some terrific suggested blog post topics, from poverty to pollution to water wars. And I’m confident that bloggers around the globe will tackle all of them. But I wanted to write about something closer to home.

I grew up largely in West Africa. I carry the indelible image of a Hausa tribesman too far south, walking his painfully thin cow to market in the midst of a drought. I saw lots of people living without access to clean water. Heck, every time the power went out in Lagos (and occasionally we were talking days, not hours), the only reason we had running water was because our tank was on the roof.

We boiled water everywhere. My parents still boil water, and they now live right outside Washington, D.C. I filter water for ice and cooking, and lean toward bottled water for drinking.

To this day, I turn off the water when I’m brushing my teeth, cut the tap when I’m scrubbing dishes.

One of  the coolest projects I know is PlayPumps.

We need water for food. For sanitation. To keep our bodies alive. We need more smart entrepreneurs to put our 21st century brains to work making clean water available to all.

Water is life. And too many people don’t have this lifeline.

Photo by p0psicle (Flickr).

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