Students carry five gallons of water on their heads around Greenlake as a way to identify with women around the world.

Be Hope to Her is a national event that occurred on 23 college campuses and in three cities nationwide last April. Most of the participants at the Seattle event were SPU students. View Be Hope to Her Photo Gallery. Photos By Curtis Simpson

Be Hope to Her

Even the tied-up shirt between his scalp and the bucket wasn't enough to cushion the strain of the three gallons of lake water. Senior Davis Winslow's arms grew stiff from steadying the bucket and before he knew it … splash! It fell onto the gravel, spraying the feet of fellow students.

Davis was one of about 20 Seattle Pacific University students who participated in “Be Hope to Her” at Seattle’s Green Lake Park last spring. The event was designed to raise awareness about water conditions in Kenya and how they affect the lives of thousands of young women.

Students walked the first half mile with an empty five-gallon bucket resting on their heads, symbolizing a ritual that Kenyan women and girls as young as five perform almost every day.

After a half mile, the students dipped their buckets in Green Lake and let in about three gallons of water. The murky lake water looks similar to the drinking water in Kenya, which comes from open streams. Not only does the water have the potential of carrying diseases, but the walk also keeps Kenyan women from jobs, school, and the chance to take care of their families.

Some students ventured to carry the whole weight, filling their buckets to the five-gallon mark, yet many of them allowed a pitcher’s worth of water to slosh out of the top and sides of their buckets.

Sophomore Andrea Chan, a member of the SPU women’s soccer team, was surprised how much her body hurt. “My arms went numb,” she says. “Those girls must have amazing neck and back muscles.” Plus, while Andrea only walked a mile, most women in Kenya spend five to six hours collecting water each day.

Davis finds that he thinks of the event any time he hears about water issues on the news. “It engrained a sense of empathy in me,” he says. Davis was also happy to hear about positive things going on in Africa to help. “It left me with a sense of hope that something can be done about this problem and that we can all be a part of it.”

Just the Facts

What: Be Hope to Her, an event that takes place on college campuses across the nation.

Why: To raise money to build wells in Kenya, and to educate people on how carrying water keeps African women from jobs and school.

More info:

By Senior Jacky Neumiller, Photos By Curtis Simpson

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