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Revisiting IRC's Water Stories

Published on: 26/07/2018

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41 timeless stories that showcase our complex relationship to water; a precious resource that unites us all. 

Originally published in celebration of IRC's 35th anniversary, Water Stories maintains its relevance and charm 15 years later. Within its vibrant pages are personal anecdotes and creative pieces that illustrate the myriad of experiences people have had with water. The voices represented are both global and intergenerational and the stories they recount are funny, tragic, inspirational and everything in between.

We invite you to immerse yourself in this rich storytelling—to gain another insight and perspective of this familiar element to vicariously feel the awe, frustration, fear and joy the authors have for this vital resource.

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 Here is the original IRC article that accompanied the book, originally published in the SOURCE Bulletin, No. 31, September 2003:

Misheck Kiriki receives first copy of Water Stories

When he was a 12-year old boy Misheck Kirimi from Kenya travelled miles to fetch clean water, until his donkey refused to cross a river to deliver it, "A donkey, a storm, and the enemy's rain" is his story of what happened next, in a new book Water Stories, published by IRC to celebrate its 35th anniversary.

Misheck, who now works at NETWAS in Kenya, said: "Stories are important in our culture, they can change our attitude and teach us a few things." Sascha de Graaf, IRC's Publication Officer, presented him with the first copy of the book during the first day of the Sixth Water Information Summit.

Misheck Kirimi's story was judged the best by an international panel, because it describes an almost desperate situation with a sense of humour. IRC sponsored him to come to present his story at the summit.

The international panel that helped select 41 personal stories from the many submitted included: Margaret Catley-Carlson (United States), Sir Richard Jolly (United Kingdom), Ahmed Abo Dehman (Saudi Arabia), Gabriela Castellanos (Cuba) and Ayu Utami (Indonesia).

As well as the stories, Water Stories has 46 vivid colourful pictures about water and the role it plays in the lives of people throughout the world. In this compendium, some stories are sad, others are happy, but all of the show how water is essential to us all in one way or another.

Here is a selection:

  • Mary Cahill Kurpiewski, an 11-year old entrepreneur from the USA, learned her lesson selling not-so-holy water to unsuspecting churchgoers.
  • Rosaly Castro from the Philippines found floods exciting when she was a child, but now understands the terrible impact they have on communities.
  • Paul van Vliet, UNICEF Ambassador in the Netherlands, travelled to Eritrea and could not cope with the choice of what to drink in the aeroplane.
  • Pamela Lee Ann Stir from Brazil tried hard to take a proper bath in strange surrounding, but failed miserably at the final hurdle.
  • Brian Little from the UK, helped to dig wells in Tanzania but learned a valuable lesson about customer choice.
  • Ashish Singh from India was fascinated by the water world of the fish..until the day his world and theirs collided.

Various sponsors in the Netherlands have contributed to make this 116-page book available in English, Spanish and Dutch, They are ICCO (The interchurch organisation for development cooperation), WL Delft Hydraulics, Provincie Noord-Brabant (one of the Dutch Provinces), M2D Marketing & Communication Advice, and Fabrique Design & Communication.

Luuk Roubos from ICCO was also presented with a copy of the book. He said: "ICCO sponsored this book because of the growing importance of water for a general development agency like us. Making these Water Stories widely available is a good means of raising awareness about water."



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