Written by Romain Broseus, Institutional Development Officer, WaterAid America
Romain Broseus holding his daughter
This year, I will celebrate my second Father's Day still feeling the warm memory of that special day in 2013 when I first held my baby daughter in my arms. She was so delicate, but already possessing a very strong voice.

As she nestled against me looking a little lost, I wondered if I was carrying her properly, and how I would manage to help my little girl grow and develop. Despite all the preparations during pregnancy, I still wondered if I was completely prepared. 

I understand now, 14 months later, you are never prepared, but with several additional pounds and inches on her side and a few extra pounds and wrinkles on mine, my baby daughter walks, runs, plays, throws a ball, talks, dances, and cries out, most often with joy but sometimes seeking help or reassurance from her mommy or daddy.

During her first months, those first moments are so emotional: a smile, a laugh, her first step! And then she said those first words "Papa!" 
WaterAid's Romain Broseus reading Water Can Be... with his daughter
I like looking at her now, thinking back to the beginning, and noticing her growth and progress. Each time, I realize how lucky we are to have her and how lucky she is to be here, surrounded by people who love her and care for her.

I have spent time in Burkina Faso, watching so many mothers with babies strapped on their backs walking to a water point and struggling back carrying not only their baby but a heavy can of water as well. Life is so different here. My daughter drinks safe water at home when she is thirsty, takes a bath when she has had too much fun in the dirt, and even (sort of) brushes her teeth herself.
A woman in Burkina Faso carrying a jerry can on her head and a baby on her back.
She is used to her routine of reading stories, especially before going to bed. First we wash her hands and face, and brush her teeth. Then she grabs a book and brings it to me so that I can read to her. Her world is safe. I understand what it means to raise a daughter with a promising future.

But what do I see in her future? Through determination, perseverance and hard work, I am sure her future will be full of great opportunities to pursue her own dreams and aspirations.

I am grateful she will be able to enjoy that freedom because her basic needs are satisfied. She won’t have to miss school to spend hours walking in search of water; risk her health drinking unsafe river water or suffer the indignity of not having a bathroom.

Being a father is both fulfilling and challenging. If Father’s Day is celebrated to honor fathers and their unique role in guiding their children's development, I will also celebrate my daughter, and take the time to step back and think again about the power clean and safe water, toilets and hygiene have to shape my daughter’s future.

Top three photos: Romain Broseus with his daughter.
Bottom photo: A woman in Burkina Faso carrying a jerry can on her head and a baby on her back. Photo: WaterAid / Suzanne Porter.