12 August 2011

The Power of Water

New York City, it is claimed – at least by New Yorkers – possesses the best tap water in the country.  New Jersey – do not laugh – has some mighty fine tasting water as well.  The same for Boston.  In fact, I might argue that the overall quality of American water is high.  How do I know this?  Take for one piece of evidence this: our water is never “chunky.”


Tap water provided by the city of Ocotepeque is available every other day.  Turn on your faucet on an off day and you get nothing.  They pump the water out of a nearby river that is apparently also used for all types of commercial and farming activity.  Use your imagination. 

During the rainy season, when it can and does rain up to six out of seven days of the week, the river churns with sediment: a veritable storm of flotsam and jetsam.  The locals thusly observe that during this time, the water is more likely to be gloppy or, yes, “chunky,” as it flows out of the faucet.
There is a section of Ocotepeque called, “El Yunque.”  “The Anvil.”  I am not certain how it got its name.  What I do know, however, is that it is one of the poorest sections of the city and without the benefit of tap water flowing into individual dwellings.  (In this section of town, not even the loosest qualifications for using the word “house” are met in some cases.)  As a result, each day, residents must walk to a certain public faucet to fill up their assorted jugs with water. 

This public tap happened to be located in the wall of the school complex at which I worked during my time in Honduras.  Thus I saw roughly the same scene each morning: very young and very old around the tap, a series of plastic containers sitting near the water source and a sock or other type of straining device upon the sole faucet.

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