What Would You Do?

It is common to praise the benefits of water for the sustenance of our lives here on Earth. Space studies put forth the different features of the other planets in our galaxy that make them a fascination from where we rotate and tend to conclude on the fact that they are inhabitable by humans.

In recent years, Mars had seemed to hoard the spotlight from all of the planets for its close characteristics to that of Earth and the traces of water that it seemed to boast many many years ago. Earth being composed of more water than land doesn’t fall short of proving its importance in our lives. Now that most of the ice in the arctic is melting due to global warming we won’t have any shortages any time soon, but I digress.

On a more serious note, if you were to think about it, it is noticeable that in our daily ups and downs our use of water is our second highest consumption next to air. Can you then imagine if access to it is scarce for days, weeks or months? Without going into the necessity of the implementation of pipelines in rural areas of Ethiopia, that many projects have taken up, can we assess the access to water that an average urbanite has?

Recently, complaints have been sprouting from all directions about how not one drop of water has been seen in certain neighbourhoods for days. The responsible bodies have explained that pipes were broken; that it has not rained, and that reservoirs are low remain somewhat insufficient answers.

The scarcity of water has somehow posed as the perfect example to prove how fast we adapt to any given situation as a people. Most of the solutions that are almost instantaneously put forth for questions or complaints relating to this topic seem to tickle the same creative bones which suggest plastic containers, jerry cans, water pumps and water tankers at home.

I wonder though how much of a long-term solution these semi home remedies could be. Especially, given the fact that almost everything depends on water in any given household ranging from cleaning to cooking. I am torn between the fact that the aforementioned short-term solutions are rather more of an obstacle to the actual solution. I say that in all sincerity because when short-term solutions exist no one pushes towards finding a lasting settlement.

Over the last weekend, an acquaintance was explaining how his neighbourhood had no water for more than a month. He went on to state that water would surprise them at the oddest hours of the night. Needless to say, the water problem is more pressing to resolve, but the power outages are also inconvenient. And anyone would say that it is better to have no electricity than not having water. Even though choosing between these two shortages should not be, people’s heart is soft to excuse the latter.

In a city where we now have more and more people living in apartments, imagine how difficult it would be to ensure basic sanitation. I could agree that these are not issues that started just yesterday, but I wonder about our options. Our ability to survive and adapt to ailments is sometimes not necessarily for the best. The majority of our instinctive responses to a lot of the problems we currently face is ‘min-yidereg’ – ‘what can be done’.  So let’s ask us that – are we really solution-oriented as a community or are we more keen on focusing on the problems to no end?.

By Christine Yohannes
Christine Yohannes writes about social change, performs at public events and conducts poetry workshops in schools. She has established a monthly event entitled

Published on May 16,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 889]



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