Genius in the face of Drought

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São Paulo is one of the mega-cities in Brazil that most people know after Rio de Janeiro. What most people don’t know (or at least not until recently) is that it’s finding itself subject to drought conditions. Most scientists believe it has to do with deforestation in Brazil playing havoc with the weather patterns. São Paulo is new to this, but innovation isn’t lacking!

Drought conditions affect the poor more than anyone as they have fewer resources to weather the duration.


A photo I took at the Dia das Crianças (Children’s Day) party we made for the children. Many of the families that benefited live below the poverty line and are at the mercy of the necessary water rations.

Living in the Northeast, I am no stranger to drought conditions. The city I first lived in when I moved to Brazil was Surubim, a sleepy countryside city known for it’s bull-centric culture. It’s the city I did the majority of my volunteering in–such as with Dia das Crianças.

Surubim shared a reservoir with no less than five others, meaning that water was rationed in an effort to keep it flowing for as long as possible. Meaning that you got water on weekends and had to fill up a large canister or two to last you a week: Showers, dish washing, laundry–everything was dependent on that canister. But it isn’t so cut and dry. Drought conditions affect the poor more than anyone as they have fewer resources to weather the duration.

Those of us with a bit of money could pay when trucks with huge tanks of water on their backs but everyone was not so fortunate: Everyone didn’t have the money to spare for extra water, everyone didn’t have the money to invest in a larger canister, space constraints in smaller homes limited where a large container would stay…

That said, people had to be resourceful. I can’t say I investigated the depths of all that resourcefulness, but I know my parents in law had a similar setup to the one that I’m going to link you to below. Upworthy shared a way that one woman is helping those with little access save themselves in an idea that they call (and I cosign): GENIUS.

Check out what Terezinha Silva is doing to ensure that as many people are able to access water as possible.

The featured image is not São Paulo, but Surubim, a city in the Northeastern region characterized by its arid climate. I hope that São Paulo and other southern regions don’t join the Northeast, but that the Northeast finally gets over the drought and Brazil flourishes in lush, rainy awesomeness.


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