Matt Damon Asked A Cheery 13-Year-Old What She'll Do With Her Free Time. Her Answer Gave Him Pause.

Rajiv Narayan

Think "Matt Damon and water" and the first thing that comes to mind is probably the "Ocean's" movies. Promise me you'll replace that thought with this issue instead?

Interviewer: I was shocked to learn, you know, and more props to you for just promoting awareness, let alone all of the tangible work that you guys have done and changed people's lives - I was shocked to learn that one ninth of the global population still lacks access to water.

Matt Damon: Yeah and 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. 

Interviewer: Right.

Matt Damon: You know, more people have a cell phone than have access to a toilet. 

Matt Damon: Right. And you called it a lifeline I think just the other day, this is literally a lifeline.

Matt Damon: It is literally a lifeline. And even the quality of life, like the... To me kids, you know, we were in Haiti a couple of years ago and we kind of christened this new water system in this little village and I talked to this little girl, she was 13 and my oldest was 13 at the time, so I was really interested to talk to her and I was saying "How much time are you spending every day collecting water?" And she said "3 hours." I said "Wow, 3 hours a day? So what are you going to do now? You're going to have more time for homework?" And she goes "I don't need more time for homework, I'm the smartest kid in my class." 

Interviewer: Ha, that's amazing.

Matt Damon: She said it in that great way where I knew she actually was the smartest kid in the class.

Interviewer: Conviction.

Matt Damon: And I said "Well what are you going to do with all of this time?" And she said "I'm going to play." And it was like, it was devastating, you know?

Interviewer: Right.

Matt Damon: But wonderful that this kid was going to have a better quality of life. But, really, also kind of drives home the point that there are hundreds of millions of children for whom that's not an option and they're just scavenging for water with all of the time that they have here on Earth.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

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