Before coming to Bolivia, I had never been to a country where it was suggested one did not drink the tap water. As an avid water drinker in the US, I could not fathom having to avoid using the tap every day. Eventually, I had become accustomed to not drinking it, and it did not even register in my mind anymore. I did become more aware of what a sacred resource water is however. In December, I traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota. Being in Bolivia and seeing the effects of water scarcity and lack of water sanitation reminded me of the slogan I saw across many signs, posters, and t-shirts concerning the Standing Rock Sioux: “Water is Life.”
I had never previously been in a situation where I saw water as such a precious commodity. Complaints would often circle through our groups about feeling thirsty or suffering from chapped lips, yet we only had to deal with this problem for one month. Bolivians have woken up in the recent past to no water whatsoever, and the worry is far from over. Although we are going to leave and go home to a place where water security is not a worry, those in Bolivia cannot simply leave and escape the problems they are facing. It is a situation that makes you think about those daily things you can take for granted so easily.