How the other half live


A 9am lecture; the bane of all students’ lives. The torture of getting out of bed at such an ugly hour can often feel over-bearing, especially if you are nursing a hangover from the night before. However, despite our constant fear about our dwindling bank balance, which we only have ourselves to blame for, we still surround ourselves in a world of convenience and luxury. This is the life we have become accustomed too, taking for granted the bare necessities which for some people across the globe are a source of constant worry.

Esther Ariao carrying water (Amuria, Uganda) — © Water Aid

This year, almost 500,000 individuals attended a university in the United Kingdom for the first time, giving them the opportunity to deepen their knowledge on a wide range of subjects as well as taking part in the university experience. In the UK, we are given the freedom of choice, the ability to make our own decisions and choose our own paths. We made the decision to come to university. It was our choice. Yet we still complain about extensive reading lists and curse the days when we have more than two hours of lectures and seminars.

However, whilst we load our shopping trolley with emergency snacks to keep us company during times of an imminent deadline, individuals our age are struggling to find the basic essentials they need to take the first steps out of poverty.

Esther Ariao is 23-years-old and lives in Amuria in Uganda. At 18-years-old, at an age when thousands of eager freshers descend upon university for the first time laden with alcohol, a selection of fancy dress and a crate of baked beans to last them a lifetime, Ariao was struggling to transport water for miles from the water hole to her home. A home where she has no form of sanitation. Unlike the UK, where clean and safe water is easily accessible and plentiful, her economic position means that she constantly has to worry about every sip of water she takes. Sadly she is not alone as 12.5% of people across the globe currently live without safe water.

Ariao said: “Often the water gets spoiled because of the number of people using it. When the borehole gets spoiled we have to walk to another borehole further away, it takes us two hours sometimes, and often there is queuing, as a lot of people need that water”.

But when most students in the UK are saving their pennies for a night on the town, Ariao is struggling to get money to repair damages to the water wells to ensure survival. “Sometimes when it’s spoiled we have to collect money to repair it. It took two months to get the money, it can take longer. It was two months ago that that happened last,” said Ariao.

So when we’re moaning about how we are going to afford our fifth night out of the week or what we believe to be a mountainous workload (which has only built up due to our ability to procrastinate) just stop and think. We have been given an opportunity that some people couldn’t even imagine in their wildest dreams. University gives thousands of students across the country the platform to excel whilst some individuals have been brought into a life without basic human rights. A constant battle for survival. So don’t take for granted this experience and make the most out of every opportunity that comes your way.

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