Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WORLD WATER DAY a la Cuenca: PARADES -- often an unexpected surprise

Today on our way to Spanish class, the bus stopped at an intersection and didn’t move for a couple of minutes, along with all the vehicles in front of it. We decided to make the leap, and we jumped off the bus. It turned out a LONG elementary school parade was passing on the cross street, with hundreds of students celebrating the multiple messages of World Water Day.

Cuenca is quite concerned, according to the El Mercurio (the local paper from 22 de marzo de 2011), that it will not have enough water around 2050. At that point, the water demands of Cuencanos will outstrip supply because of the growth of around 10,000 per people per year in the city. The local government believes it will need to tap subterranean water instead of just using the water from the Tomebamba and the Yanuncay Rivers. (We should also mention that Cuenca’s water supply is the most pure in South America, and may well be better than the water in many Americans cities.).

The government is looking at the future, and President Correa has even suggested that the current governmental propane tank water heating subsidies should be stopped for any water heated for bathing (cold water gets you just as clean, right?).

What was impressive about the day was the orchestration of events, including newspaper articles, TV segments, and parades such as the one we happened upon in Cuenca. There was also another parade of indigenous peoples today, also dealing with water issues, but the parade had already passed by the time we figured out what was going on.  Dang.

Clearly, though, these students and their teachers had been preparing for quite some time for this parade dealing with water issues. These parade slides should give you a sense of the parade and their preparation.

Each school group/grade began with a banner indicating the school's name.  The purple sign proclaims, "Water is life.  Save it." 

And many of the children were wearing what was clearly the official "banner" of the parade:  Environmental Education Program -- water for all."

the back of the banner had the same message (sponsored by Etapa, a communications company).   
Also, many of the groups were in water-related costumes and students held individual banner and message boards.  Note "Don't contaminate water" and "Save water."

This water drop says, "Don't contaminate water."

And this one says: "Save water today because tomorrow will be too late.  Let's save it."

The banner says: "Water sings, weeps, and cries." 

"I am the guardian of water."

"Water is a treasure.  Will you help me conserve it?"

"In an unequal world without water, some will have a hard time while others who respect it will have a future of enjoyment." (or somethng like that).

There were little droplets of water too  :-)

and clouds with water drops falling

and a number of groups were in costumes indicating those birds/animials/insects which need water to exist. 

and there were some flower groups (flowers need water too).

and a sun group

and a tongue twister:  "Drop by drop, water drops are not wasted."

Overall, it was a wonderful way to impress upon kids and parents alike about the importance of preserving our water supply

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