For some reason yesterday I was thinking about the house that I lived in when I was in Thailand. It was the only time in my life that I lived in a house on my own. I loved my house. It was raised up high enough for me to hang my laundry underneath. The windows had wooden shutters to close them but no screens. The floor boards and walls allowed everything to flow in, bugs, the wind, rain, you name it. I did have electricity but there was no running water inside the house. The water, which was not for drinking, flowed for two hours a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. There were no inside sinks, taps or flushing toilets.
In the front of the house there was a tap and a large concrete container. Inside my bathroom there was another large ceramic container that I had to fill with water from the downstairs outside tap in order to flush my toilet. The toilet was a squat toilet, no sitting. In order to use properly, you stand on the two sides that look like treads, squat and aim yourself. I discovered that in order to hit the bowl, I had to lean a bit to the left. These are things you could live your entire life without knowing.
The water that came out of the tap was not even close to being clear but it was what I used for washing clothes, dishes and myself. The clothes and dishes were washed squatting out in front of my house, amidst the ants (black and red). Bathing was done in the bathroom which had a concrete floor with a hole in the corner for the water to drain out of. I would take bowlfuls of water from a smaller plastic container and dump it over myself. There was something nice about the concrete floor. It never got really moldy or gross despite the humidity.
Fast forward to here and now and water is something that is not thought about. There is just an expectation that it will be there. That it will be clean. That it will be drinkable. That the tub can be filled and it will be warm. So today I am thankful for the water and for the people and organizations that make it their responsibility to ensure that it is there; and that we are being responsible stewards. Sometimes the folks fighting the best fights on behalf of Hawaii’s environment remain voiceless and unheard; unfortunately taken for granted.