Text version of video - Jay-Z Diary in Africa: Water for Life

Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Live

October 9, 2006

(man speaking) You have to go as early as possible so that you’re not jostling for the water.

Millions of girls around the world do the same, everyday.

Jay-Z: I really thought she was going to take me to some type of well. Where she took me to was this really small house.

Ghosh: These people are fortunate enough to have the pipe coming into their house. The other people will come and they will have to pay a premium.

Jay-Z: It makes your heart sad when you see the water that is so precious to them, leaking down her neck and down her shoulder. It’s a very difficult thing to watch.

Tell her to take it down. Put it down.

I’m going to help you out with this one.

I tried to carry the bucket. I moved about maybe ten feet and I had to switch hands.

Ghosh: What do you think?

Jay-Z: it’s very heavy.

Ghosh: And the nearest source is more than a half a mile away.

Get the best grip.

Ghosh: These are chlorine tablets.

Jay-Z: She has these pills that she has to drop into the water so that the water’s clean. It’s 2006. I can’t believe this is still happening. It’s water.

And I’m not talking about luxury. I’m talking about most basic of needs. You know.

That’s just the start of her day.

Around twelve she makes her trek over to school.

Ghosh: Ok, the street that were going to come on, this is the street that she walks every day.

Open sewer. The smell. What the camera is not going to capture is the smell.

Jay- Z: You can’t even take a deep breath.

Where’s this coming from?

Ghosh: There’s a minuscule pipe here and then people are throwing their garbage here. There is no sanitation facility.

In this stagnant water, you’re going to have breeding mosquitos, you’re going to have other kinds of worms.

Jay-Z: They’re selling vegetables and things right out here, right like that.

You know flies have to fly from that water, land on the food, land on the vegetables, go back in that water, land in that again.

It’s grotesque…it’s horrific.

Ghosh: They'll be dogs, chickens drinking, feeding off the same thing. Kids are playing right here.

Their ball is falling in the feces and they're picking it up, wiping it off and they're right back to playing again.

Imagine the types of germs that being passed around.

Ghosh: These are deadly germs. We can't see them, but they kill children.

You know the time it takes for us to walk to her school. three kids will have already died of diarrhea.

Around the world nearly two million children die every year because of diarrhea. That's coming from unclean water or from poor sanitation.

This is the entrance to the school. So they have to actually cross this sewer.

Jay-Z: Where's your classroom?

Hello! Bon dia?

(Children speak in unison)

The schools are very small and you see it's almost two people to each desk.

Ghosh: So again when the rain comes down, it's not possible to hold class.

Jay- Z: Right there, right there...yeah.

Everywhere is these camera phones. Somehow people found a way to get cell phones in these neighborhoods. It's funny the priorities that's being made.

That's the toilet?

There's no running water on the grounds.

Ghosh: So what they have to do is collect water from the far end of the school where we entered, they will have to collect it in a bucket and bring it in there to go to the bathroom.

Throughout the world, four hundred and forty-three million school days are lost because children don't have access to water in schools.

And therefore, are either dropping out or suffering from diseases.

Jay-Z: Today is a special day. The kids have a new bathroom.

The school was lucky enough to get a grant from UNICEF which enabled them to install this bathroom with running water.

Ghosh: Having a functioning toilet in their school, is going to make a world of difference.

Jay-Z: Attendance rises in school, there's less germs being passed, females are able to, for when they reach puberty, to take care of themselves the proper way.
It's just shocking how something so small can go a long way.

Ghosh: It's a simple intervention, not very expensive, but something that has the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of kids. Just in one single school.

Imagine if we do that throughout the world.

Jay-Z: It was wonderful meeting you. I admire your courage.

Ghosh: What do you think? I mean have you ever seen anything like this? Open sewers?

Jay-Z: Not even close. In my business we always tend to say that we're from the hood, we're from the hood, we're from the bottom.

Ghosh: It is a hard-knock life.

Jay-Z: Oh yea, this is really the bottom.

It's such a draining and heavy experience. You go through all type of emotion. You just want to take everybody, put them in your car and bring them home with you.

You know you can't do that.

October 13, 2006

Jay-Z: We should do some good.

Ghosh: We are going to see a very isolated, rural community and supplying water to them is always difficult.

In this place, the houses are pretty far spread so it's more difficult and costly to lay pipes all around in these towns.

Ghosh: The place we're going is Mid Illovo.

There they are. That's the school up there.

Jay-Z: We visited a school to see how the kids can have access to clean water.

Principal: Welcome to our school.

Jay- Z: Thank you. You also.

(children greet him in unison)

How old are you? Twelve years old? How did you get water before? Can you show me?

They grabbed their buckets and took us on this trek.

You guys would have to leave from the school with that bucket? And then you go, how far do you think it is?

Too far? (laughs)

Ghosh: How long does it take you to get water?

Jay-Z: (laughs) She has the right answer. Too far and it's too long.

Ghosh: There's no running water in the school, but it means a lot more for these school kids.

Because their houses are so far apart it means getting water for each one of them is a more arduous task.

(kids singing)

Jay-Z: This is not an easy thing. We're walking down a hill. I can imagine walking up.

The terrain is difficult. You have to go down these steep mountains to go get the water.


There were these huge drops off the side of the roads. You miss one step and you'll hurt yourself pretty significantly.

They’re looking back at us like "sissies."

Oh wow.

Ghosh: The whole community has to get water from here.

Jay-Z: You see where they're drinking from. They gotta share that with the livestock, with cattle, with goat, with everything.

There's a very narrow walkway.

Realize how real it is and the physical effort that it takes for me to just walk up this hill - without a bucket.

That was real. It's unbelievable that someone so young could be doing that every single day.

(children shout "Jay-Z")

Alright. Alright. Alright. (laughs) Thank you.

Ghosh: This is a special day for Jay-Z. He's about to see the first water source that he has provided money for.

After they finish school, they play pump. Which is this device, it's similar to a merry-go-round.

Kids run around and they spin on this and that in turn pumps the water into this tower that they can draw from.

(children singing)

Ghosh: It was an interesting solution. And it just means that children can play while they collect water.

Jay-Z: They could do that all day.

Now they have access to clean water.

Ghosh: Instead of trekking down a hill, the kids can actually just run out of school and there's a faucet there providing clean water.

(children singing)

Jay-Z: They're playing, singing, having a great time.

Ghosh: And the rest of the community can get water from here.

Jay-Z: And everyone else can get water. It's very simple.

La Bonga!

Feels like a huge sense of accomplishment, so I think we're going to have a hell of a show tonight.

Jay- Z: There are alot of great solutions for getting clean water to places that need it.

If everyone across America can contribute ten to fifteen dollars to help out, we could bring fresh water to a lot of deserving people.

Ghosh: And now, thanks to you, they've got this play pump, which the kids play and they get water.

Jay-Z: Together we can do this. You can do this.