I reach for the faucet to rinse my toothbrush and cup a handful of water to swish in my mouth, something I have done nearly every day of my life. But I stop. Just in time. I’m in a part of the world that doesn’t have purified water running in the taps. They don’t use potable water to wash their hands, clean their clothes, flush their toilets or polish their cars. Clean water in such abundance is a gift. Something I am truly thankful for, and something I think about every day I rinse my mouth with bottle water.
Water is a life. Water is health. Clean water is a given in most of the United States, but not so around the world. I see families bathing in the irrigation canals or local wells, hoisting buckets of water from open tanks, filling drums of water carted on rickety racks hauled by bicycles, oxen, or pushed by hand. None of this water is safe to drink, first it must be boiled. A pot of weak green tea is on every table, boiled and ready for drinking, free for any and all to take. This a gift from the people for the people. And this is daily life in Myanmar — the cities and the villages.
I marvel at what we do have in the States. We had the political will long ago to build treatment plants, lay pipes, create an infrastructure for each and every city. It’s no small feat. The cost must be astounding, and the miracle of clean drinking, washing, bathing water happens with hardly a thought.
Usually this time of year I take stock of my life and give thanks. This year, my thanks is for water. I wish us all an abundance of safe, healthy, life-giving water and the political will to help those without.