Edmonton students get hands dirty in lesson about global water insecurity
'Every single day people are worried about how they are going to get water'
It's a long and sometimes muddy hike to get to the banks of the North Saskatchewan River from Lillian Osborne High School in the Terwillegar neighbourhood.
More than 500 students, including some from Ormsby elementary school, carrying jugs and singing songs made the 10-kilometre round trip as part of the fourth annual Water for Life event.
Mokua made the journey twice a day as a child growing up in Kenya. He now passes on his teenage experiences to his students about water security.
"They don't know how fortunate they are living in Canada where by, whenever they wake up in the morning, they have clean water, warm water, to take a shower, cold water straight from the fridge to drink and for other home use," he said.
Students formed a chain on the muddy river bank to pass empty jugs down to those filling them.
The long hike back carrying the full jugs was the most difficult part of the exercise, said Grade 12 student Mike Zhang, who is on his third Water for Life walk.
"Expect mud, expect hills and expect to get a little frustrated but in the end, if you keep your chin up, you will have a lot of fun."
The hands-on approach takes the message from the classroom and into the real world, he said.
After carrying the water jugs back to school, the students poured them into a filtration system, a step millions around the world must do to get clean water.
The Water for Life event is also a fundraiser for the Mission of Mercy Canada. In the four years that Lillian Osborne students have made the walk, they have raised $25,000 to purchase biosands water filtration systems.
"For me it is about experiential learning," said organizer Lisa Beebe, with Edmonton Public Schools.