I drink water
I drink water from the tap
I drink water from the tap and stay healthy
Obvious? A big part of my life it has been obvious. Water always was there and it always was clean. So I’m used to drinking directly from the tap. The last year in South Sudan that has changed completely. Wau does have a water supply system with water treatment. You should be able to drink it after that, but not the whole city is connected to the system. For houses like ours, that is not connected, water is delivered in tankers of by boys with donkey carts. Most of that water comes from boreholes and is relatively clean, it might be you can drink it without becoming really ill. Sometimes the water comes from the river or, like in our case, it is stored for a while in big tanks before being used. The quality of that water is dubious at best. In the villages around Wau the situation is worse. Quite often the water people there use comes from wells or other unreliable sources. The quality is unpredictable, I never dared to take the risk and drink it. Not only the quality of the water is unpredictable, the availability as well. In the dry season some places don’t have access to water at all.
Last weeks I’ve spend some time in Island, for a change to cold weather. There the situation is completely different. Water is everywhere, in many different forms. Streaming water like rivers, brooks or waterfalls, most of the times clean enough to drink. Frozen water like snow on mountain tops or the ice of glaciers. Steaming water, coming out of the surface, is the most spectacular variety. Water is heated below the surface and blows out of geisers, fumes out of holes in the ground, or bubbles in pools with boiling water. The consequences are visible in the landscape around the country. If water comes to the surface that hot, most of the times it smells terrible because it contains hydrogen sulfide. Ever smelled rotten eggs? Well, something like that. The same hot water is used in many hotels to create hot pools, wonderful to warm up after a cold day out. That’s fine, but some hotels use the same water for hot showers or let it come from the tap. No problem for a shower, the smell doesn’t last long, but to drink… no, thanks. Fortunately the cold water came from another source, so that was very nice to drink.
Although in South Sudan we just drink water that has been boiled and/or filterd, we drink a lot of it. The heat makes us drink water throughout the day, sometimes up to four or five liters a day. In Iceland we didn’t. We could get water to drink everywhere, but we simply forgot to do it. The consequence was that quite often I was thirsty, what rarely happens here in South Sudan. Availability is something different than use!