Water. Clean, running water. It’s something you don’t really think about all that much. It’s essential to sustain life, but it’s something we take for granted each and every day. Believe me; I’ve survived my fair share of boil orders. I’m kidding, I’ve only experienced three in my 19 years of life…all of which have occurred in the past year.
We have been under a boil advisory here in good ole Maryville and it’s like the plague just hit. Frantic emails, texts and tweets fly saying “don’t drink the water, it could be contaminated!” I understand the precaution and I appreciate it, but really? Millions of people deal with this every day. I get that it’s not normal for Americans not to have clean water at the turn of a knob, and I don’t want to criticize us for that. It’s what we’re used to, and that’s fine, but I just hope this brings out some gratitude instead of frustration in people.
We grab a bottle of “mountain fresh” water, or drink a glass of ice cold water from the faucet. Heck, we can even drink from the hose if we’re feelin’ real crazy! Day after day, women in Haiti spend the afternoons walking to the nearest well or spring, collecting 5 gallons of dirty water and carrying it back on their heads. This is their lifestyle and obviously it’s very different in America. I get that. I’m not saying we should change everything because that still wouldn’t help them. That’s not what I’m getting at at all. I just want us to be a little more thankful for what we have. The quality. The convenience. The benefits. Think about it. We pee in cleaner water than they have to drink! How stupid is that?!?
We walk down the hall to quench our thirst or to wash our hands. They don’t have that luxury. It’s a several hour trek up a mountain. It’s difficult. It’s hot. And after all of that, it’s not like they even get nice, clean water. It’s filthy. It has bacteria and dirt and who knows what in it. These people are probably ten times stronger than the average American because of this. Their body can handle so much more than us because we baby ourselves. At the first sign of a cold, we run to the store and stock up on vitamins, OJ and Sudafed. They suck it up and drink dirty water. We cry because the peroxide stings and then we cover it up with a cute sparkly band-aid. If they get a cut, they kick it old school and rub some dirt in it. Oh my cow! Americans are a wimpy, whiny, people.
Last year, I went to Haiti and experienced this first hand. No electricity. No running water. We walked. We were dirty. We received special treatment because we were Americans. 8 days. Eight. Freaking. days. That’s it. I “dealt” with it for 8 days. That’s ridiculous. These people live their whole lives like this. It breaks my heart. Why do I have these luxuries? Why am I more privileged? Why do I have a better quality of life? What makes me better than them? I am no better than them. Believe me. This is stupid. I don’t know how else to say it. They deserve better. They deserve to be healthy. I don’t understand why it has to be like this! It’s extremely frustrating for me. I want to help people. I want to give them a chance at a good life. I don’t want them to become Americanized because I am frustrated with this country too. I just want them to be healthy and happy where they are. I just don’t know how to do that.
I feel guilty. I want to help. I’m 19. I don’t have a job. I’m taking classes. I feel like my hands are tied and I hate that. I have a heart for people. For those that need help. For those that are hurting. For those that need healing. I want to help. This is why I’m in school. This is why I changed my major. This is why I’m writing this. I’m frustrated and feel compassion towards these people. Splagchnizomai, to be exact and it’s not going away. It can’t. It’s who I am and I love that God placed this on my heart. So, I’m sorry, I’m getting off my soapbox for now, but I’m sure this is not the last time you’ll hear about this stuff. In fact, I can promise you’ll read about it again because it’s a part of me and this blog represents the fabric of my life. I’m just adding a new heart-shaped patch to it.