How many times have you heard a joke or comment about drinking the water in Mexico?
A social norm, this has always been a fleeting comment or fact. I’ve never thought about it.
And for the last three years of living here, I haven’t thought of it.
Until I went home last month to Ohio – where I LOVE THE ABUNDANCE OF WATER. Water, ice, water from the sink, water from the toilet is even trusted to me in a way I never appreciated! And we have the ability to afford to just flush it, all day long, and watch it fill up again?
We hear water jokes or about water diseases and it goes over our heads. Non-potable water is an alternate universe for all intents and purposes. We just don’t fathom what we’ve never lived.
But guys – really. There are people ALL OVER THE WORLD…in areas where you vacation, even who cannot drink water from a sink.
Not because it tastes funny.
Because it really is unpredictable in what it could do.
People are dying daily of diarrhea. Neighbors you have met like “I”, five years old, have been rushed to clinics and stayed overnight….coming back a week later, and at least 5 pounds lighter (which is a lot at that age). If we were in the mountains, there would not have been a clinic.
People are consumed with hours of their day to retrieve water that could still get them sick. “Hiked a mile uphill both ways” goes in an ear and out the other….so try this. When you look up from this blog and take a drink from your coffee, tea, soda with ice, or water….you either bought it from a store you didn’t have to second guess at for your health, or you lifted a handle. If you lifted a handle, you will probably have to wash your dish later, which will be a chore. As you stand in your home, no dirt, no bugs, clean water, warm water, soap, kitchen, full pantry. If you went to a store, you did something that some people never do – while you may go in public for food at least twice a day.
Y’all, this isn’t a guilt trip. It’s me just trying to wrap my head around it…..
When did “Don’t Drink the Water!” become a slogan or tagline?
When did it just become “the way it is” that a LARGE PORTION of the world has not had indoor plumbing, ever in their lives? In 2016, the year of hoverboards, Periscope, and INSTANT reactions on all platforms of #Lemonade?
Part of it is not understanding what it even means.
“Don’t drink the water” means bacteria or parasites are IN that water, and they will get IN your system and…
1. start to live in your body until you get rid of them (parasites)
2. make you immediately sick, emptying your stomach in all ways possible
3. A slower, weakening your immune system sickness in various ways
I know these because I have lived them.
This is not a guilt trip. This is me asking…..
Why did it take me getting sick to care about the water – and why is my focus still myself (how can I make sure MY water is clean?) instead of the 10 million in Haiti, plus the world around us?
Guilt trips don’t work and I don’t like them anyway. But critical thinking and real questions? Let’s not stop those conversations.
As a part of Breathe Partners’ Giving Campaign we’re drilling a new well at the Sant Mouvman in Haiti? Would you give towards this project? Find out more here.