This evening I bathed in clear, hot, and most importantly, fecal-free water. It felt like a gift. A much taken-for-granted gift.
Earlier in the day, our city lifted a boil water advisory that had been in effect for a short 48 hours. But those two days were a blunt reminder of just how much I take clean water from the tap for granted. A well in town (or two or three wells?–I’m not quite sure) had tested positive a week earlier for E.coli. So basically I and all my neighbors had been drinking what we have fondly been calling “poop water” for the last week.
Local officials were quick to comfort us saying the advisory was issued out of “an abundance of caution.” Meanwhile I couldn’t help but wonder if the bad migraine that wouldn’t go away last week was somehow related. After all, Google says headaches could be a temporary symptom of such consumption.
Most of the world doesn’t live like “we” here in the U.S. do. When I was young, my grandmother amazed me with stories of having to walk quite a distance to fetch water from a well for their household. It certainly didn’t occur to me that plenty of people in the world still had to do that–or much, much worse.
Turkey was my first travel experience in which I had to treat water from the tap before drinking it or using it to brush my teeth. In Istanbul they seemed to combat the issue with LOTS of chlorine. We bought bottled water when we could and brought along a backpacking water filter, which came quite in handy. We’re getting ready to set off on a trip to South America and we bought a new Sawyer Products SP128 Mini Water Filtration System to take along. We didn’t know we were going to really get to try it out before we left home…so far so good.
The next time you’re brushing your teeth or filling a glass with water, take a moment to consider what a magnificent thing it is you’re experiencing. And if you’re really feeling like making a difference in the world today, consider making a donation to a group like Blood:Water Mission, whose mission is to combat the HIV/AIDS and water crises in Africa.