Our family had the opportunity to live without water for four months. Opportunity may be a strange word for it and it did not feel like it at the time...
What would a young mother with three children do without water? This was not a city dwelling where one could merely call the utility company and have it turned on. Rural areas obtain water from wells or underground springs.
There are four primary areas we use household water and these do not even include the agricultural necessity of producing food:
- Cooking and dishes
It was trial and error at first but little by little we developed our system. My memories of my grandparent's ranch and the hand pump encouraged me along.
I developed what I called a "pour bath". The kids probably thought I was saying "poor bath" A large pot was heated on the stove and I would then add cool water to make the comfortable temperature. We would take this pan into the bathroom and set it in the tub and pour water over ourselves to wash up. This was our daily routine but at times I would get enough water to fill the bathtub two inches deep and we would bathe in that. An average bathtub holds 55 gallons. One learns these things when water is hauled by hand.
During this time I was making friends and had some relatives so once a week would go as an invited guest and could take a wonderful shower or bath. After bath time we would sit and visit over coffee. Off the top of my head I can think of at least 3 people whose showers I used but there may be more. One cannot appreciate the gratitude of a steam filled bathroom until one has done without.
The laudry was easily dispatched with a weekly trip to the local landromat.
We cheered when the toilet was first flushed and had a celebration. As we contined to work on repairing our water system, which was delayed because of the winter, the water continued to increase to meet all our needs though on a very conservative basis. One not dare flush a toilet while another was taking a shower or the water would be cut off for five minutes causing a very unhappy naked person.
Why do I share this story? It happened almost 25 years ago. I could put it behind me and remember it no more. The experience changed me. Each time a toilet flushes I am happy and grateful. Each time I use too much water doing dishes I feel wasteful. A shower now feels like an advantage of the rich and I often am aware of how rich I am even when things are tight.
Over 1 billion people do not have clean water available. Recently I became aware of an organization that drills wells in impoverished areas. The cost was stated as $500 to put in a well that would serve up to 200 - 500 people in the community with a hand pump. There are many excellent ways to help others but I tell you this one got me excited. Imagine what it would be like to have clean water for cooking, bathing, and growing food for the first time in ones life. A miracle.
In my research I located the link provided I wanted to share. If you know of other organizations feel free to share them. If you have been looking for a way to really change the life of others in a meaningful and lasting way WATER may be something to consider. I am just now beginning to participate and hope and plan to increase my efforts in the future.