Last night we watched an article on Trevor Noah about the issues with access to clean, uncontaminated water in the United States. I am unable to view the video in that link here in SA, but hopefully the link will allow you to see the video as it is both terrifying and fascinating and worth viewing. We were astounded that there are several cities in the USA which do not have access to a clean and safe water supply. In fact, data CNBC obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency reveals that only nine U.S. states are reporting safe levels of lead in their water supply. These include Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Tennessee. Now with Mr Nasty Scott Pruitt in charge of the EPA the USA is up the river without a paddle.
Of course we were aware of the crisis in Flint Michigan as it has been in the international news, however like most we assumed it was due to the sneaky, financially driven poor decisions made by government officials such as Governor Rick Snyder. It is beyond my comprehension how this man was re-elected after showing such disregard for the lives and health of his constituents. But as Trump has demonstrated it is very easy for an idiot to come to power in the US as there are many other idiots who vote them in.
But I digress.
Here in South Africa we are having a water crisis as well. Ours is due to several factors: the first is our useless government who are so busy raping the country they cannot be bothered to plan ahead or do maintenance on the water supply infrastructure, the second is that we are having a long term drought.
In the Western Cape our dam levels stand at 22 per cent, with only 12% of usable water left. There are restrictions on the amounts of water each household should be using. Many people have implemented a grey water system which recycles their household water into a storage tank which is then used to water their gardens and wash their cars or even fill their pools. Grey water is water from baths, showers, hand basins and clothes washing machines / laundry. Water from other sources (such as from toilets, kitchen sink, dishwashers and bidets) is considered to be black water (you wouldn’t want to swim in that!).
Our own grey water system consists predominantly of Norman tracking up and down the stairs to empty our buckets and containers of saved shower water. Waking up at 5.45am and climbing into the shower when it’s chilly in our unheated house without waiting on the water to get warm is not much fun, but I do it. I tend to get into the shower, lather up and then only put the water on at a trickle, quickly rinse and jump out.
This time of year in South Africa is very unpredictable in regards to weather. We recently had a bout of chilly weather with strong winds, resulting in us all digging out our boots and jackets. We even had a few downpours of rain which gave us a bit of hope. But then this week it has been incredibly hot and dry and whatever moisture the gardens managed to absorb last week was promptly dried up leaving the ground again gasping for water. The grass has come back a tiny bit just with the miniscule bit of moisture it had, but it is a strain of African grass, so it is resilient. 🙂
If we get a wet winter it will bcome lush again.
Today Mzudumo is coating the grass with horrible smelling fertilizer which isn’t great in this heat. 😷 But the garden needs it.
In our kitchen we keep a jug under the tap and wash our hands over the jug. Veggies are then washed in the same grey water and then after we have finished dinner the jug is emptied into the garden. We apply the ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow’ approach in the loos as a single flush can send loads of valuable drinkable water sloshing down the drain. You could save between 7 and 10 litres a day by just doing that small change.
Our system is basic but our plants are doing pretty well from it.
The issue with the aging infrastructure seems to be relevant to both the USA water crisis and the SA water crisis. In both instances the governments say they cannot ‘afford’ the investment in the infrastructure, but if you look at the money spent on the resulting healthcare issues triggered by the lead in the water in Flint, I cannot understand how they can risk the potential lawsuits and increased healthcare costs? We won’t even go into the increase in military spending. Spending more to kill than to heal and nurture?
Access to safe, clean water is a basic human right, so how is it that so many of us do not have that access?
On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.
Humans must have water. We are dependent on it to survive much less to keep clean and provide us with sanitation.
The other item which I have been thinking about a lot is addiction. A different sort of dependency which leads to huge levels of crime and various health care issues.
I watched an interview with the author Johann Hari and was transfixed by his points. You can view his TED Talk video for yourself and tell me what you think? Have you addiction in your family, or has it affected a person in your life or even you?
Hari has done a study on addiction and the ‘War on Drugs’ and has published a book called ‘Chasing the Scream’. His theory is that addiction is linked to pain, disconnection, loneliness and trauma rather than solely based on a genetic tendency towards addiction. Most children of addicts live a life of uncertainty and chaos. My theory is that this corresponds with his analysis, the damage and insecurity of a childhood spent with an alcoholic or addict parent can cause it’s own trauma. I suspect there is a bit of both nature and nurture, environment and genetics both at play.
The shame and punishment that an addict receives from most of society perpetuates the cycle of loneliness and despair and the cycle of addiction continues. By removing the criminalization and spending that money on rehabilitation the possibility of reducing the number of addicts increases and the crime which results from that addiction also reduces.
The book contains reference to Billie Holiday and so I reasearched her life and death. The story of the tragedy of Billie Holiday’s life is heartbreaking. I knew she was an addict but didn’t realize what a horrible childhood she had. The attempted rape at age 10 alone, much less her teen years spent as a prostitute would have given her enough trauma and shame to result in her need to escape reality.
I have always found addiction a fascinating topic. It’s clear that it is not 100% related to genetics or all children born of two alcoholic parents would inevitably be alcoholics, however that is not always true. Interestingly, children of alcoholics often choose to be sober due to their fear of losing control but marry an alcoholic as they are familiar with and somewhat comfortable in the role of care taker.
If the world wide issues with addiction were resolved just imagine what it would do to heal our society as a whole.
Our four day week flew by. Norm was working in Johannesburg on Wednesday and flew out really early, so poor sick Caitlin had to feed the dogs. She was very ill and could barely leave her bed for days. We had Cordelia work all week and hired Charles to walk the dogs. He brought his little sister to walk the Pomeranians. It was very cute.
It was so hot all week so we barely cooked inside. Norm braaied chicken kebabs on Tuesday night and I made a salad. The dogs wanted some of my chicken. Nav turned his back on it all. I love his little rabbit like tail.
I was up early the next morning as Norm woke me when he left for the airport. It meant I could get away a bit early from work that afternoon to deal with things at home.
That morning on her way to work Cordelia saw some guys almost rob an old man, but they got a fright when she arrived and they ran off. Norm was conducting the Neighborhood Watch operation from the airport in Johannesburg.
That night Caitlin felt up to a bit of organic chicken sausage so I cooked sausages and just made a salad for myself as that was too much roughage for Cait’s poorly tum.
I added a bit of yummy mango.
I worked at our Canal Walk offices on Thursday and went through really early. My colleagues told me I need to buy new clothes as my trousers are so baggy that they look like clown pants. How rude.
They didn’t know that I had tried on a different pair which were so big they literally fell off as I walked across my bedroom. the clown pants were the second option.
Cordelia thought I was funny taking a pic of my pants.
I worked from home that afternoon but it was unbearably hot. I was glad I was wearing my baggy linen outfit. regardless of how unflattering it was.
Norm arrived back home late Thursday afternoon and he had a very sore shoulder. He had been seeing a physio a while back which had brought a lot of relief but it had seized again after his trip.
Friday Caitlin felt up to going into work and Norm was off to the physio and I was back in the office in the CBD. At least it was air conditioned. I walked over to Food Lovers Market at lunch time for sushi, it was too hot for cooked food, but the walk over made me feel faint it was so hot. They were removing the burned out cars by the Artscape which were left over from a film set and that diverted me for a bit.
I left work at 3pm as I had started so early. I popped by Retha’s place on my way home and had a few glasses of wine and then Caitlin messaged us all to say her offer on the flat was accepted. So exciting! She now has to meet with a broker to get a loan hopefully. She has a decent reliable salary so she should qualify.
Norm came to take me home last night as Retha and I had a few drinks and I also can’t see to drive in the dark. We decided to go get takeaways rather than use OrderIn despite Norm’s sore shoulder as Norm had no wine at home and so he popped straight back out after dropping me at home. Just at the end of our suburb he hit a rock in the road which is a common method to get people to stop, but as he wasn’t mugged I assume it was from the construction going on at the nearby school. He drove off towards Massimo’s and realized once on the main road that he had a blowout. The area is a bit too close to the high crime areas for comfort and Norm hadn’t taken his phone so couldn’t phone me to rescue him. Luckily he had his radio and could request assistance and his friend JJ came to change the tire as Norm’s shoulder is so bad he is struggling to use that arm at all. I’m just glad he is safe. Once again JJ is our local hero.
Norm eventually went off to get us dinner. We munched and had a relaxed early night trying out our new Look TV which is so superior to DSTV. We will be cancelling that service.
At least Norm can amuse himself watching British shows tonight while Cait and I have a mom and daughter night. We are going out to dinner then to watch Beauty and the Beast at the cinema.
I hope you enjoy your weekend. x
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