I read with interest the headlines on 6 Oct 2008 that Starbucks was wasting 23 Millions gallons of water. I am not sure whether this is true or not. I called up The Sun newspaper to verify the story as I thought it was impossible that a company such as Starbucks that sees first hand effects of water shortages in Africa can behave in such a way.
The Sun told me this story was indeed true, I am not a regular reader of the the Sun newspaper in fact I found the story on Yahoo. I rang Starbucks and was they could not confirm or deny the story either way.
Why am I so interested in this story you may ask? I am not a regular at Starbucks so my interest was not because I wanted facts to enable me to take a decision to boycott Starbucks.
I saw the irony in this story, for you see Starbucks sources some of it coffee from Africa and one of the biggest issues facing African communities is the lack of access to clean water.
As I write my friends and I are running around like headless chickens trying to get people to our fundraising event at the Hilton Hotel in Cobham on 17 October 2008.
The reason we are fundraising? Yes you guessed it to get clean water to an African village such as the one where Starbucks gets it’s coffee from.
I would like to tell you about the people in this village they find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and there is something that is unique about these people they are resilient, friendly and welcoming and above all they do not ask for much.
The particular village in SW Uganda is in dire need of clean water. This is not an unrealistic expectation in my mind after all we expect to turn on the taps and get clean, germ and bacteria free water.
The women and children walk down the hills to get dirty water, they carry it back the hill and walk down again to fetch firewood to enable them to boil the water on an open fire to rid it of germs and bacteria.
This process takes up to 3 hours and understandably they are so exhausted by the end of it that they skip the bit where they have to go down the hill to fetch the firewood and they use the untreated water.
As a result of this those with compromised immune systems such as the children, elderly or the sick cannot survive. Some in this village will be HIV+, have malaria and TB and will be vulnerable to opportunistic infections, therefore access to clean water is important.
With this in mind I have got together with a few friends to do something about this water situation. We have had the quote for the cost of getting clean water in and that stands at £8000-£10000. This is not an awful lot of money in the scheme of things especially as that it would bring clean water to over 10,000.
We however haven’t had much luck with ticket sales thus far and ironically stand to pay a cancellation fee of £4000 to the hotel!
Can you help us? I sincerely hope so.
Further details are http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.org