…a Chinese proverb according to the internet. And a heady reminder that the water we rely on has to come from somewhere.
Clean drinking water is a global issue even surfacing as a problem close to home in America. Flint, MI and our country’s aging pipe infrastructure, the struggle (or battle…) at Standing Rock, ND against risky corporate endeavors, and the Animas River flowing with millions of gallons of mining waste this year in Colorado are all reminders of how precious this (hopefully) clear fluid is to us.
Here in Arusha, Tanzania, like many places globally, drinking the ground water can be health and life threatening. V4Y is blessed to have a house with electricity and running water, but I just learned we have two different taps. All the water in the house used for activities of daily living is from a well and would be very bad to drink. We have one tap out back that is government supplied water used only for cooking and drinking. This water is still not great for foreigners to drink but is of much better quality than the local ground water. However, water from this tap is expensive enough to require limiting its use to drinking only.
Each day I spend 1,000 TSH (about 46 cents) for a 1.5L bottle of Kilimanjaro water. It does the trick to hydrate me without wreaking havoc on my insides, but the consequence is I have to frequently stop by the shop next door to replenish my stock. More importantly once I’ve consumed its contents, the large plastic bottle makes its permanent home wherever it lands.
There is a movement in Arusha and Tanzania to provide recycling services and encourage environmental conservation, however, as expected, the movement is slow to gaining footing in popular culture. In the meantime the streets are still littered with empty bottles and our trash at home is mostly food waste and plastic bottles. I remember there being peddlers in Dar es Salaam who walked the streets collecting the bottles for compensation. I’ve seen no such thing here, and recycling is not something at the forefront of peoples concerns.
Today I purchased a water filter for the house. A $200 investment gets me an electric water filter that provides hot and cold water and a dual gravity filter that lasts six months. We can now drink filtered water from the “government tap” in our house. The investment pays itself off in just a hand full of months for one person; there are 8 currently living in the house. And I will be leaving the setup as a donation to the house with hopes it will provide clean water and reduce the need for buying water bottles for many many more volunteers to come.
If you would like to help me cover the cost of the water filter, I am still excepting donations via my Generosity.org Fundraiser!
I certainly will send up a little prayer of thanks with each drink from our new contraption. Now go drink some tasty clean water with a healthy dose of gratitude. And you’re probably dehydrated so go ahead and have a second glass.