A poem for my water bottle

When Peeper was born, the folks at the hospital gave me a giant double insulated water jug. I reveled in its 28 ounce capacity and brought it everywhere. I drank water like it was my job because, for a breastfeeding mama, it was my job!

Then one bad no good horrible day, I left the jug on top of the car and drove away. The jug was smashed. My heart was smashed. I missed that hunk of plastic for months.

I told this story to the nurses at the hospital where I delivered Kiwi. Not only did they gift me a new one, they gave me two.

Maybe they were angling to get Kiwi named after them.

Well played, nurses.

Anyway, the other night I was trying to keep myself awake and amused as Kiwi nursed, so I composed a little ditty in honor of my favorite drinking receptacle. (What, isn’t that what everyone does?) I give you:

My Giant Water Jug

You’re my beautiful big water jug
Night and day you allow me to chug a lug
I fill you with ice
Splash in water so nice
And continue to breastfeed my little bug

Now I’ll just wait for the poetry contracts to roll in.

World Water Day: Gratitude

Somehow, I heard it over the Super Bowl.

Pshhhhht.

The spigot connecting the hot water to our new washer was spraying water all over the laundry room. A puddle quickly turned into a flood. We used every towel, sheet and bath robe we owned to try to sop up the deluge, but despite our efforts, water soon began to leak downstairs.

In some (very) small way, the leak might have been a blessing: I was too busy mopping up a puddle and googling 24-hour plumbers to see the infamous one-yard-line play call that cost the Seahawks their national title.

At any rate, we spent most of the next 48 hours without any running water, and it took me a frustratingly long time to get a contractor to fix our problem. (“Yes,” I informed way too many people, “no running water with a toddler in the house does constitute a plumbing emergency.”)

We’re back online now, so to speak. The temporary inability to wash dishes, hands, clothes and a toddler who loves to finger paint made me even more grateful for what we too often take for granted: clean, potable, accessible and affordable water.

Sunday was World Water Day, a global event that marks the importance—and scarcity—of clean and accessible water for every human, community and ecosystem. According to the United Nations, “748 million people do not have access to an improved source of drinking water and 2.5 billion do not use an improved sanitation facility.” Unfortunately, untreated water and the lack of hygienic toileting are a major source of disease. Read more

Ignore your phone, give water

A handful of women stepped into an ankle-deep pond. They bent at the waist to dip metal tubs into the water. They made shallow passes with the containers, trying to avoid the worst of the sediment.

They were collecting water to drink, cook and bathe with from the only free source within walking distance. The pond, though, was close to drying up during the lull before the rainy season, and sometimes the women got sick from drinking the untreated water.

Women near Gushegu, Ghana collect water from a pond thirty minutes away from their camp. Credit: Catherine Ryan Gregory
Women near Gushegu, Ghana collect water from a pond thirty minutes away from their camp. Credit: Catherine Ryan Gregory

I walked back to their camp with these women in Ghana as they balanced the metal containers—heavy enough that I’d have trouble lifting them, let alone setting them on my head. They didn’t complain; they at least had something to drink.

Women in Northern Ghana carry the responsibility of fetching water for household chores. Credit: Catherine Ryan Gregory
Women in Northern Ghana carry the responsibility of fetching water for household chores. Credit: Catherine Ryan Gregory

A pump with much cleaner water was several hundred yards away, but a man stood guard to collect money from anyone who used it. These women had no money, so they made do with the silty pond.

Many of us in the Global North take water for granted. We don’t think of our good fortune when we take a sip, wash the dishes or flush the toilet. Yet 768 million people worldwide don’t have access to safe and clean water, according to UNICEF.

UNICEF is now running a program to help bring clean water to more people in need through its Tap Project. And we can help—by giving up something that is a luxury, we can provide a life-giving necessity.

Read more