This week I had no running water for four days. I never realized how delicate life could be without water. Simple tasks, like taking a drink, bathing and washing dishes became exceedingly difficult.
I coped the first few days by purchasing bottled water (which thankfully I could do), trying to perfect the art of a sponge bath and doing my darndest to ignore the dirty dishes and smell of filth that filled the house. By the fourth day, I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I finally snapped.
The reality is, I had it easy. As my mother said, think about the people in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, who endured weeks and months without water or electricity. I definitely feel especially sensitive now to people who don’t have access to water and many people around the world don’t, whether in crisis or not.
The first lesson I learned from this situation was to not take water for granted, the second was to help those who don’t have the privilege of being able to buy water when they have no running water, so I donated to the Fund for the Virgin Islands. Honestly, that’s not enough, I could and should be doing more to help others. I’m ashamed that when I watched the trauma and emergency unfold in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico , I didn’t do more to help. I regret it so much.
The third lesson I learned was the importance of being prepared. If I had known how to purify water, take a sponge bath, build an outhouse and wash dishes the old-fashioned way, my few days without water would have been more bearable.
There are many communities of people who devote their spare time to preparing for emergency or crisis. Not just firemen or police officers, but everyday, normal people who learn survival skills, build shelters and “go bags.” They are called “preppers.” Everyone should be prepared for an emergency, whatever your color is. However, being an African-American, you especially need to be prepared, not just for an apocalypse, zombie-invasion or the end times, I’m talking about things like Hurricanes, floods, and water scarcity. Think about Hurricane Katrina. Think about how countless people were left to fend for themselves for weeks, while the government did little to nothing. Think about what happened in Flint, Michigan with the foul water.
The reality is, if a major crisis goes down, the poor, Black people and other people of color are most vulnerable.
Recently, a false alarm in Hawaii, which said that a missile attack was imminent, sent people into a panic.
The false alarm in Hawaii shouldn’t be taken lightly. In this climate, in this political time, you never know what may happen. Would you be ready to grab a bag and head for shelter? Take the necessary precautions to be prepared.
At the bare minimum, put together a “grab and go” bag. In case you need to evacuate, make sure you have a plan, enough water, food, a light source, blankets, maps, emergency contacts, first aid kit, non-electric radio, utility tools, pen, and paper.
My survival goals are to:
- Learn to purify water
- Build a get-out-of-dodge bag
- Learn to grow my own food
- Learn to bathe and clean without running water
We, especially as people-of-color, unfortunately, cannot always rely on the government to protect us, if an emergency occurs. Take the necessary steps to protect yourself.