Hughson may be half a world away from Karatu, Tanzania, but local Hughson High School students turned their eyes – and their feet – toward the East African nation last weekend.
Hughson High School's Interact Club led a Walk for Water on Saturday, challenging students to a walk-a-thon geared at raising funds for a new well. Students also threw water balloons at one another – an unthinkable event in water-starved Tanzania.
As of 2006, only 55 percent of the nation's 43 million residents had sustainable access to improved drinking water sources, according to the World Health Organization; just 33 percent had access to improved sanitation.
Just $1 is enough to give an individual clean water for 40 days, according to Samantha Patrick, president of the Hughson High Interact Club.
“I know times are tough, but if you think about it, anything we do is better than nothing,” Patrick said.
The issue came to the attention of Hughson's Interact Club through club vice president Kieran Pierce, who founded the event a year ago. Pierce heard about the issue through his father, Graham Pierce, president of the Modesto-based Medical Relief Foundation. That foundation is attempting to build a hospital in Karatu.
Last year, the inaugural Walk for Water drew between 30 and 40 attendees and raised about $1,200. This year, the Interact Club hoped to raise at least $1,500 with 75 attendees, but final fundraising figures were unavailable at the Journal's deadline.
The Interact Club will donate all profits to the Medical Relief Foundation to assist in building a groundwater well and a rainwater collection and storage system. Every bit helps, as that well will cost upwards of $20,000, and the rainwater collection system will tally several thousand dollars in and of itself.
To donate to the Hughson High Interact Club's Walk for Water, make out a check to Hughson Interact and bring the check to the Hughson High School main office.
To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.