I guess I have been thinking of water for a variety of reasons. We live on the bank of the Ganges River, or should I say the Ganges sand-bed. There is no water, at least most of the time. India has something to do with that, but I don’t understand the politics. This part of Bangladesh does not flood, in fact, during pars of the year the shallow wells dry up and the ponds are fetid scum, brackish and stinking.

Life is so funny. In the West, (except maybe in Australia), no one thinks anything about watering their plants , filling up a swimming pool, or taking a 15 min shower. And here, due more to the lack of infrastructure than the lack of water, several times a week we have no water in our taps. But I have nothing to complain about. Our house-helper, Amina, told me proudly that at her new house, there is ‘supply’ water. What she means is that she’ll get the city water, which turns on several times a day for several hours.

Times haven’t always been so good for her. I remember I told her one day that I had taken a shower in the middle of the night as I had been really hot. She replied that she wouldn’t dare to go to the pond at night, alone! Things happen, at night, at the pond. She didn’t believe the stories, but she was still scared! Then I understood — that’s why Amina stank. She lives is a slum and the pond probably is just putrid. A daily bath in that only does so much.

Even for those with ‘supply’ water, and storage tanks, like the one our building has, water can still be a problem. Tanks get broken, rats fall into the tanks and spoil the storage.. . . like Pinky’s family experienced. We went over for a lunch invitation. It was a hot day, and several members of the family were squatting next to the clay stove, patiently feeding the flames with cow-dung sticks, even more carefully stirring and seasoning our lunch. Sweat dripped from their faces. I felt even worse for all the trouble they were gong through for our meal when I heard that they had no water in the taps for days. All the water for cooking and drinking had to be carried from a well that was not at all close to the house. What a chore.

But the truth is, that’s the norm for people. The majority of the world’s population has some sort of water shortage.

So what can I, one of those lucky ones, do? I can water my plants with dirty water. I can use less soap on my clothes, so that an extra rinse is not necessary. I can be thankful for a a shower, even if it’s three minutes. At least I can be aware that I am blessed.

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