Saturday, July 31, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere

With our trip departure exactly seven days away, I’m excited (and anxious!) and I’ve become a little obsessed with …. water. While widely available in our Brita/bottled/Smart/spring/flavored/vitamin-enhanced water world, clean water is a scarce and coveted resource in Africa.

I drink at least 2 liters of water a day and quite worried I won’t have access to clean water for drinking to keep me hydrated. (This concern is a bit unwarranted since, yes, there are grocery and convenience stores in Addis Ababa.)

Then there’s the issue of hygiene. A good day for me is two showers. A great day is three. Sonja has warned us about the municipal water supply. Similar to the precautions one would heed in Mexico (Can you say “Montezuma’s Revenge”?) with regard to fresh vegetables washed in water or drinking straight from the tap or the presence of ice cubes in a drink, yet compounded by the unreliable infrastructure. (The Addis Ababa Water & Sewerage Authority was established in 1971 and the government is still learning how to best manage demand and access to clean water and the safe disposal of waste.)

My heightened water awareness is piqued at every turn: brushing my teeth, washing my face, shampooing my hair, washing my hands before I put my contacts in, rinsing out a glass, watering my plants, drinking coffee, flushing the toilet, swimming in the pool, getting my car washed, sitting in the steam room, boiling water for pasta, doing laundry, wiping down the counter….

The CDC offers lots of tips for travelers regarding safe food and water. Click here for more info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/content/safe-food-water.aspx

Posted by at 6:09 AM

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