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Churches: Walking a mile for water

A walk from Pawleys Island Community Church to Pawleys Creek on Sunday will highlight the plight of Africans who walk an average of 4 miles a day to get water. Among those taking part will be nine cyclists who finished a cross-country ride Friday at Pawleys Island. The annual Ride Well Tour raises awareness and money for the Blood:Water Mission. It’s an effort to help communities in sub-Saharan Africa deal with the HIV/AIDS crisis and develop sources of clean water.

Ending the tour at Pawleys Island was the result of a connection with Elizabeth Paul, who is the communications director for 3DM, a locally-based company that provides training for church leaders and missions. Paul did marketing for the Blood:Water Mission when she worked in Richmond, Va., and kept up the connection when she and her husband moved to Pawleys Island last year.

She contacted the Rev. Don Williams, pastor of Pawleys Island Community Church, about the tour. “They’ve been a huge help,” Paul said, including providing a beach house for the riders.

The riders will be at the church during Sunday’s 10:30 a.m. service to talk about their experiences.

That afternoon, they will help with a community “water walk.”

“It’s literally an exercise in walking a mile in someone else’s shoes,” Paul said.

The walk will start at 1:30 p.m. at the church and go a mile to Pawleys Creek, where participants will fill containers with water to carry back to the church.

“The average African woman and child walks 4 miles a day for water,” Paul said. “It’s meant to be an exercise in solidarity.”

And it doesn’t matter that you can’t drink the creek water, much of the water Africans carry isn’t potable either, she said.

The walk is open to the public.

Donations will be accepted, but aren’t mandatory. However, participants need to bring their own containers. Sizes from 2 to 5 gallons are recommended.

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