In a land blessed with an abundance of sunshine, clean drinking water is a must.
And we have a couple of options when it comes to quenching our thirst and staying comfortable and properly hydrated.
So, let’s look at our first choice:
If you’re visiting the country for just a weekend or a couple of days and you have a ‘deep pocket’ and can afford to buy bottle water like…
Any of the dozens of other popular brands on the market, then by all means go ahead.
But if you’re going to be staying for long stretches of time, or maybe even contemplating relocating, then buying plastic bottle water might prove costly down the road.
So, let us look at our other options for clean drinking water. But first, let’s walk down a bit of memory lane
Years ago, many of us can recall fetching water with our buckets from a village standpipe or well. Sometimes we had to line up for hours for our turn to fill up our water cisterns.
Some folks usually turn up with Huge barrels (punchin for some older people) mounted on top of donkey carts.
The scenes around the pipes are usually filled with good-natured jesting, and in some occasions, a few minor spats here and there as nerves get jarred.
But all in all, just a fun time with a bit of gossip now and then (ok, much gossiping) and in many cases, boy sees girl and girl blushes …and the village population keeps growing!
The water we fetch was a lot purer then and also we had developed certain immunity to whatever chemicals there were.
I’m aware that in some parts of the country people still flock around the village standpipe, but for other parts, things have improved quite a bit.
Ok, so what are our other options?
As I was driving around the country, I couldn’t help but notice the many water tanks in people’s yards.
They come in various sizes, shapes colours and prices. Folks used them to store rain and tap water through an elaborate and intricate network of pipes.
Some folks can now conveniently brush their teeth indoors, flush their toilets (no more wandering off to a latrine in a remote corner of the backyard with pieces of ‘Graphics or Mirror’ newspaper in hand), and blah blah blah.
Black is the most obvious colour of these water tanks, but many homes have the colours matching their houses.
They are usually mounted on wooden or concrete structures and they lend a nice décor to the local landscape.
I understand that most of these Tuff water tanks are imported from Trinidad, while others are manufactured locally.
So, today it’s a lot more convenient for many Guyanese than way back then. The water is readily available and the locals seemingly don’t have a problem with drinking this straight off the pipes.
As a visitor, however, common sense dictates that you exercise a bit of good judgment.
So, what’s the wise thing to do to get your taste of clean drinking water?
Nice of you to ask!
So, here’s caveat No.1: Always boil your water before drinking. Boiling your water kills all un-encysted bacteria (germs, viruses, parasites and the whole gamut).
For those of you that have young kids, you know that unsafe and polluted water can lead to all kinds of sicknesses.
Boiling makes it safer than previous as doing so removes all
microorganisms in the water. Spare your
kids the torture that comes with diarrhea or vomiting. Give them clean drinking water
Now boiling doesn’t solve all the problems, but it does make it safer than before. I guess it’s worth repeating.
Now if that’s a pain lower down the back, you can always use a water filter.
And, this is what I use.
I usually drink water gushed down from heaven – AKA - rain water. I have them collected in a tank, and filtered in one of those Brita water filter jugs for my daily consumption.
'Crossing my fingers', or 'knocking on wood' or whatever silly things some people say or do, so far I haven’t had any problems with sickness or so.
I usually carry with me a BPA (Bisphenol-A) free stainless steel water bottle rather than squishing around those chemical induced plastic bottles.
These are sturdy and they look hip and cool, especially if you have one with a gorgeous looking color.
Also, I find it more convenient to carry in my backpack whenever I’m on a trip.
So, rather than buy expensive plastic water bottles, why not make a fashion statement by carrying around one of these stainless steel water bottles.
We already have too many plastic landfills and clogged up trenches. Besides you’re helping to maintain the environment.
Last, but not least, try using a squeeze of lemon juice in
warm water first thing in the morning if you find the taste a bit bland.
So, let’s recap:
-- Clean Drinking Water Caveat No.1: always boil your water before drinking
-- Use a filter. Buy one. It’s far too expensive to get sick. These filters remove a lot of the extra minerals in the water and also reduce the smell and sickening taste of chlorine.
So, on your next vacation plans in Guyana you want to be hanging out on the beach sipping a drink a with the umbrella in it - not lying in bed with a thermometer stuck under your tongue.
Can I add one more thing: It's perfectly ok to drink and drive - clean drinking water that is.
Now be honest ...what did you think I was gonna say?