These are empty water bottles.
What is the first thing that went through your mind when you saw the picture?
Recycling, trash? Or something else?
While we were in Ethiopia my view of an empty water bottle changed.
Here, at home, my husband will tell you that I will not throw away an empty plastic bottle. Yes, even at Chick-Fil-A I put the empty plastic milk bottle in my purse so we can recycle it at home. I hate to throw away anything that can be recycled. In Ethiopia, I thought recycling wasn't an option so a put my empty water bottles in the trash. That is until I saw our driver throw an empty bottle out the car window. At home we call that littering but not in the countryside of Ethiopia... an empty water bottle is treasured. Many children outside major cities have to walk miles to school, to the market and to water. They typically carry water home from a well in a 3, 5 or 10 gallon container. Most families cannot afford to buy small water bottles. I learned that throwing an empty water bottle out to a child is a gift. It's a chance for a child to carry a reasonable amount of water with them daily.
Once we learned this everyone in our van would pass empty water bottles up to the front. Tom, Solomon or Simon would toss them out when they saw a child walking down the road. We would all look to see if the child would pick up the bottle. Every time they would run out to get it. Many times we would get a wave.
We we arrived at Kind Heart, Heather had gathered up several water bottles to toss out the window on the ride back to Addis. One little boy peered into our van and saw all the bottles. Through our translator we asked if he wanted them. He answered, "Yes, all of them."
It's hard to forget that something we think of as trash or recycling could be so valuable to a child.