Illinois News

Rotary Interact event involves mile walk carrying water jugs on the head

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Sep. 10, 2018 10:30 am

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- An upcoming fundraiser will see participants carry milk jugs full of water on their heads for more than a mile.

The water walk, hosted by Rotary of Pittsfield's Interact Club, is meant to simulate how difficult it is for residents in parts of Africa to find drinking water and return it to their villages. Money raised will be donated to the Light of Massai for distribution in Kenya. Light of Massai is a nonprofit organization that builds infrastructure to supply water to many villages in Kenya.

Since it began, Light of Massai has 18 shallow ground wells, each providing water for 50 to 150 people, supplied larger water tanks to schools and clinics, constructed two sand dams and run an almost 5-mile pipeline to supply water to a village and nearby primary school.

"People will be given milk jugs full of water, and they have to hold it on their heads while they walk the rest of the route to get an idea of what people in Kenya go through," said Julie Plattner, Rotary Interact adviser. "This will be a 1.2-mile route, which isn't even as much as most people walk over there every day. It's not an easy route, but it's also not too difficult -- we wanted everyone to be able to participate."

Plattner said signs along the route will present statistics and discuss the significance of the fundraiser.

The water walk will be from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at the softball field at Lake Pittsfield. Participants can complete the course anytime during the 90-minute window. Registration costs $20, and registration the day of the event costs $25. Those who participate will receive a custom Rotary Interact water bottle.

"We connected with Rotary Interact in Ireland last spring and opened a functioning well in Kenya next to a school that has 350 students," Plattner said. "The students wanted to raise more money to help, and they came up with this."

The Interact Club has about 40 members -- all local students age 12 to 18 -- and completes at least one local and one international project annually.

Plattner said registration forms for the water walk will soon be available at Pittsfield High School and United Community Bank in Pittsfield.

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