What do you do when you’re thirsty? Open a bottle of water? Turn on the tap and fill your glass? One in ten people around the world do not have that privilege.

For the 783 million who lack access to safe and clean drinking water, quenching thirst is a daily struggle. Yet, the implications of water scarcity go far beyond thirst. Globally, men, women, and children spend hundreds of millions of hours on water collection each day. Instead of earning money, getting an education, and working toward a better future, these people spend much of their productive capacity trying to meet a basic survival need.

We visited a rural community in El Salvador to take a walk in their shoes, to gain a better understanding of the challenges these families face, and to witness first-hand the effort that is required just for a sip of water. Imagine walking for 2 hours, across three miles, up and down 2,000 feet of elevation, carrying a 40-pound tank of water, every day. This is their story.

July 2016 — Los Yanez, Usulután, El Salvador