In 1996, on my first to trip to the Philippines as a teenager I was given that first taste of "third-world" living. My dad's family compound had a giant metal pump out front. It would take a few of us cousins to push on that burning metal handle (hot from standing out in the sun all day) to get some fresh ground water. I remember how "fun" it was because it was so foreign to me. I remember how the water was good enough for them, but for some reason not good enough for me.
"Bawal ang tubig sa poso. Sa plastic ka lang pwede uminom," my relatives warned.
We had to budget in the cost of bottled water just for my "sensitive" North American stomach. Today, the family water pump has run dry and sadly, I will never get to know how its water tasted.
|Child pumps water in Bicol, Philippines |
(Source: World Wildlife Fund blogs.wwf.org.uk)
"Don't drink the water. Drink the bottled water," I was warned. I didn't get it. What good was this North American stomach of mine?
|Off-reserve resident Sharon Redsky serves Jobs Minister Kevin Chief water. Next to Chief is Shoal Lake 40 First Nation Erwin Redsky and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman. (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)|