Forgive me if I keep writing about water; it’s the only thing that consumes my mind these days. I am appalled that people in goverment continue to insist that there is NO water crisis. What does it take to make this a real crisis? Listen up, Mr. Lacierda! For goodness’ sakes, it’s all over the news! We’re talking about more than two million people affected. It makes me angry that Mr. Lacierda, the President’s spokesman, insists that “It only affects areas serviced by Maynilad.” Dry taps, dead toilets, even rationed drinking water- and there is no crisis? Already, there are fighting and jostling in long, unruly lines. People wait for hours to get relief that comes without schedule or organization. And when it comes to situations like these, without leaders to guide the way, it becomes every man for himself.
I am disappointed that the government is taking its own sweet time in responding to this crisis. They say that the solutions are in place but where are they? What are they? From barangay to city to national level, there seems to be no immediate response to this crisis other than to point fingers, blame the weather, and enjoin the people to prayer. I am parched and tired and mad as hell.
Yesterday, however, a water tanker finally made it to our street. After I called Maynilad last week, and called them twice more to confirm action on my request for water, we finally caught sight of the delivery men. We ran as fast as we could, bringing pails and buckets and five-gallon containers and just about any kind of receptacle we could grab. One of our neighbors didn’t want to share at first, claiming that they were the priority case, but when confronted by loud and indignant neighbors, they backed down. I was lucky, I didn’t have to fall in line too far behind the first bucket. Still,with people trying to sneak in through the lines and many more with humongous pails that dwarfed mine, it took me close to three hours before I filled all of my containers. At first, it was all bedlam and confusion as people jockeyed for positions closest to the hoses. Amid the din of voices, however, my protests for calm were heard and my neighbors, mostly strapping young men, finally started working together instead of against each other. I even got them to help me bring pails of water to an elderly neighbor down the street. A young female neighbor helped me and the nannies carry the bottles of water back to our place. Then too, my four-wheeled pallet came in handy, helping an older neighbor carry a large covered pail to her home without much effort. By the time the tanker was drained dry, we had all helped each other. It was classic bayanihan* in action and for once, I felt proud to be part of this little community.
So last night, for the first time in almost two weeks, I slept soundly, confident that we have enough water for a few days, at least. I doubt if the worry and anxiety will cease; after all, the problems- unusually prolonged hot weather and low water levels, worsened by inefficient water utility service (talk about a 53% nonrevenue water level or lost water for Maynilad – this means more than half of water they get from the dam is lost or spilled- sheesh!) and dam problems (leaks, maintenance problems)- are still here, unsolved as the day the water disappeared from our taps. But for now, I will give thanks for the little graces and the little miracles that God sends to remind us that despite fear and worry, He is very much around.
*Bayanihan (pronounced [bajɐˈnɪhan]) is a Filipino term taken from the word bayan, referring to a nation, town or community. The whole term bayanihan refers to a spirit of communal unity or effort to achieve a particular objective. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayanihan)