Drinking Water Safely on a Missions Trip


Staying hydrated on your missions trip can be somewhat of a challenge. When I was in Uganda, I had some scary experiences with drinking water that caused me to want to inform others about the dangers of drinking water in third world countries such as Uganda.

Water is not accessible in many countries like it is in the United States. Many African people travel by foot many miles to “fetch water” from various sources and wells. I saw women and children with large Jerry Cans of water on the top of their heads which are used to carry water from village to village. This water is not safe for drinking. Many people suggest to boil this water thoroughly for at least eight minutes before it is safe to drink or even for brushing your teeth. This boiling process helps to rid the water of contaminates that can cause extreme sicknesses.

Waterborne diseases are caused from microorganisms that are consumed through fresh water sources. Across the world, many people die each year from such diseases. Some of these can be prevented through healthy and safe water consumption practices.

While in Uganda, I noticed that some water bottles being sold on the street at various street markets are not safe for drinking. Some villagers have been known to tamper with water bottles before selling them to travelers from other countries. This is a way that people are making money with dishonest sales practices. This water tampering can be detected by checking the bottom of the water bottle you are being sold before paying for it. A simple way of checking is to turn the bottle upside down and inspect the bottom of the bottle for any marks of tampering. Usually these will be very small and even hard to recognize. But with careful examination, small holes will be noticed. At the time these are noticed, politely excuse yourself from purchasing the water and find another merchant.

Some water from natural sources is safe for consumption after a distillation process. You will want to make sure that you are following safe practices in consuming any water in foreign countries, even the water that is being offered for sale.

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