Monday, March 09, 2015
I was at a party last weekend, and one of the guests was holding forth on his trip to Palestine, along with his wife. He described day to day conditions in the refugee camps, and stated that we couldn't imagine what it was like to live without running water, sewage and so forth. I really wanted to ask him if he had been walking round Christchurch with his eyes shut for the last few years. It wouldn't have needed a trip to the other side of the world, just to the other side of the city, to find out what it was like for the residents most badly affected by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, who most certainly did have to do without running water, sewage and electricity, in some cases for considerable periods of time. (In one case I heard of, two years using a Portaloo because of a lack of working sewage). In our own case, it was a couple of days for electricity, a couple of weeks for running water, and two or three months before our sewage was really functioning properly, although it was semi-usable - and we thought ourselves lucky compared to some. I still recall that it was the most joyous moment I have ever experienced when someone called out "the water's back on!"
In the aftermath of the quakes, many formerly capped springs and wells burst open. The photo above shows one. This is outside a beautiful function centre and Thai health spa, where they have piped the water so that anyone may freely fill up water bottles. There were big queues of people here after the quakes, and I still spot a few people making use of it whenever I go past, as some believe the fresh spring water tastes better than treated tap water. Also, it is convenient for joggers to fill water bottles, and I have seen dog walkers put down a small bowl and fill it for their dog to have a drink. So - a fresh tasting treat now, but in 2011, an essential supply for many.
Visit Carmi's Thematic Photographic for more contributions on the theme Drink.