October 19th, 2017
As I sit down to write this, there is a steady downpour of rain, and I can hear streams of water cascading off our roof and into the many strategically placed pails, garbage cans, juice containers, watering cans, bowls, basins, and bins that can hold water to supply our home. For a month we have lived without municipal water; for a month we have lived by the hope that gray clouds pushing in from the South will turn into afternoon showers to fill our eclectic collection of bins and basins. Every day feels like survival mode. Basic services like electricity, cell service, and Internet seem like luxuries. But not water. Water is not a luxury.
According to current statistics, 70% of Puerto Rico has municipal water. That means that more than a 1,000,000 people are without running water. In preparation for the hurricane, we stored city water in 30-gallon barrels, filled our cistern and even the washing machine. We prepared for one – maybe two weeks without water, but we never imagined life without running water for a month. Maria made landfall on September 20, 2017.
And while we stare up at accumulating thunderheads, hoping our daily prayers are answered, there are people in our town who do not have a solid roof to cover their home. Last week, I stood in a woman’s house and looked up to see great swaths of sky through holes in the quilting of her corrugated tin roof. Literal skylights. Every day it rains, I feel a great sense of relief and joy to see my personal bins and buckets overflow, yet a simultaneous sense of sadness for those neighbors whose homes are drenched inside and out.
A couple of weeks ago my husband shared bottled water with a neighbor. When others realized that he had a surplus, they begged him to share. Thankfully, he could. As he drove away, a car followed him, honking his horn to get my husband’s attention. He, too, needed water. He begged my husband to share. Thankfully, he could. Even grocery stores were rationing water; 1 case per customer, and the lines snaked around the building in the burning midday sun. Can you imagine?
On Sunday, our municipal water returned. It lasted 1 ½ days. I washed my hair and blinked my eyes, and it was gone. It came with strict boiling orders. It came with a warning of toxicity that filled me hesitation, confusion, and anxiety. Truthfully, I was a bit relieved when it dripped its last drip.
Thankfully we have a high-quality water filter. Knowing we can filter our water, fills me with a great sense of security. Our filter has become our family’s lifeline. With donations to waterfiltersforpr.com, we are able to help others who are in great need of filtration systems. Each time we make a bucket filter for a family, we are giving a gift of health and sustainability. It is truly the greatest gift to give Puerto Rico at this time. We want to thank everyone who has supported Water Filters for PR and let you know that we are so grateful for your kind contributions. Your donations are a true gift and blessing for this tiny, enchanted island. Mil gracias a todos. Se Levanta!