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Stella Artois

In the U.S., the average life expectancy for women is 81. In Uganda, it is 58.

That is a 23-year difference (World Health Organization). For men, it's a 20-year difference: age 76 in the U.S. and 56 in Uganda.


Of course there are so many other statistics that highlight the differences between these two countries.

Take dropout rates, for example:

Stark difference, right? Well, the difference is actually more stark than that: The 7% in the U.S. refers to students dropping out of high school (Pew). The 68% in Uganda is students dropping out of primary school (UNESCO).

Many of these stats — and much of Ugandan life — are heavily influenced by Uganda's water crisis.

Because so often access to water and sanitation is what it all comes down to. Without that, you lose nearly everything else. If you have to spend multiple hours each day gathering water for your family, you're unlikely to stay in school. If the water you drink is likely to carry bacteria that will make you sick, you probably won't live past your 50s.

So how do the water stats compare between these two countries?


By "clean water," I technically mean an "improved" water source. The percentage of these populations (WHO) that lack improved water sources likely still have access to unimproved sources, such as unprotected wells, water trucks, or surface water.


Again, these are the percentages of the populations lacking access to improved sanitation (WHO). Unimproved sanitation, which is what 65% of Ugandans have, includes such things as toilets that aren't properly hooked up, buckets, shared facilities, or no facilities at all.

Without access to improved water and sanitation, what does life look like?

Take a look at this video for a glimpse of life in one rural Ugandan community.

[vimeo_embed https://player.vimeo.com/video/120731761?color=67b4d2&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0 expand=1]

FACT CHECK TIME!

  • We double-checked each of the stats listed in this post and cited them in-line. If you're super observant, you may notice that our numbers differ a bit from the numbers listed by the organization who made the video (on their website). Feel free to check out our sources if the differences are keeping you up at night.
  • The video itself says that every day, 2,200 children around the world die from water-related illnesses. That number is just a bit out of date. As of 2014, about 2,000 children around the world die each day from water-related illnesses.
Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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