Friday, October 8, 2010

Can You Stand Being Waterless Even For A Day?

I can't.

But I can perfectly imagine how life would be like without water. It would be h*ll on earth. Especially when you're fully loaded with kids! The absence of water would result in my sanity packing its little suitcase and abandoning me to my water-less fate.

Apart from the obvious health and sustenance issue of life without clean, drinkable water, I depend on water's versatility to get us through the day.

Oona loves her rice, noodles, macaroni and twisty pasta. She usually helps me cook them by adding in the pre-measured salt and putting the pasta into the boiling water under full supervision. I find that she has a better appetite when she's helped me in the cooking process. It's a simple thing but it teaches her so much.

Without water, I would not be able to nourish her, bond with her, teach her about how food is cooked and the value of nutrition. I wouldn't be able to show her how we can show our love and affection through food preparation; what hot is and how important it is to be careful in the kitchen. There's chemistry, math and history there too. Everything is a learning opportunity and without water, I'd be left high and dry trying to teach Oona stuff.

I keep the kids clean and well with water. I keep their environment safe and habitable with water. Food, house, clothes, toys, books et cetera... Nothing would exist for them if not for water being involved in their manufacture, processing, growth or formulation.

To be morbid about it, here's my waterless doomsday scenario.

Without water, Oona would be back at the hospital, dehydrated beyond belief like last January 2010. It only takes a day for dehydration to leave its mark on a child. Sunken eyes, dry, cracked lips, feverish skin and labored breath. She won't have tears to cry, saliva to swallow or sweat to perspire. She will be weak and listless, too feeble to fight the painful invasion of an IV on her arm. Her toy dog would be by her pillow and she would barely move. Without water, my baby would linger and die.

Drought in Ethiopia. That's a dead animal right there.
Now imagine that's YOUR child.
Photo from treehugger.com
 Olly would go faster because she's smaller. They would both be loud and cry until they would be too thirsty and parched to make a sound. It would be a mercy if they died quickly, but thirst is evil and malicious in claiming its victims.

I would probably go crazy trying to find water to give them both. I would try to breastfeed Oona too and pray that even if I have nothing to drink, my body would still have enough to give my children. And beware mother bear, I'll kill anyone then over a cupful of water if it were the last drink on earth.

I can imagine life without water and it is only death spelled out in lingering torture.

Imagine that happening everyday, all around you. Everyday, many times over. Children dying of thirst, parents fighting for a mouthful.

I taught Oona early on as I was teaching her to bathe, about keeping the faucet closed. I told her the fish won't have a home if all the water ran out. I said she won't be able to wash then either. Then like the bright little button that she is, she followed through on the thought and named everything she did with water that we would not be able to do anymore. No more brushing teeth, washing away dirt, poop or pee, no laundry, no drinking or eating, and so on. She then asked, 'Paano na?' or, 'What happens then?'.

Looking at that perplexed little face, I didn't know what to answer for a moment. I really wanted to tell her that Mommy's looking into migration to another planet where people took better care of their environment.

Anyway, I told her that the best we can do right now is save what water we have and not be wasteful. We only use what we need and try to recycle our bath water for watering the plants or cleaning the bathroom floor or driveway. Little things, but would hopefully make a difference.

I just hope, collectively, we won't be too late.

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