Tourists have long been warned about not drinking the water when you visit Mexico. Montezuma’s revenge in notorious and most people who forget the good advice or succumb to habit and drink a glass of tap water on a hot day soon regret it. One can look forward to an almost immediate reaction followed by two or three days of diarrhea. Experienced travellers know enough to purchase agua pura in sealed bottles. It’s the only way I’ll drink water here in El Refugio.
Margarita has a chronic sore throat. She tells me it’s an infection. Right! “And what is an infection? Where did it start?” Poor dear just doesn’t get the connection between the tap water she puts in a gallon bottle and sets on the table, the one from which she and her kids drink rather than pouring the water in a cup or glass, the one which often sits uncapped overnight or during the day.
I have no idea how many and what kind of contaminants exist in animal, vegetable, and mineral form in our water. I do know what is in the water in our pila (cistern), the plastic pails and assorted tubs stored on our patio. The volume of zancudos and other mosquitoes each morning is unbelievable. Their eggs are in the water along with all manner of bacteria from bird droppings and microscopic dead animals. I wince when I think that my dishes and clothes are washed in it. I shut my eyes when I see one of the kids put that water in his mouth even to rinse after brushing. All the Listerine in El Salvador isn’t enough to kill the billions of germs that cause sore throats, bronchial problems, and gastro-intestinal diseases. Even education doesn’t seem to make a difference.
I won’t insult my wife. I know she’s not educated formally, but she’s far from a stupid person in most things relating to her life and the kids’. I’ve introduced many things new to her and she’s adapted well. But how frustrating it is to try to get her to use the bottled water! Sixty-three cents a gallon isn’t much to protect our health.
“Maybe I’ll die,” she told me while holding her throat and wishing she had Halls cough drops. She must be loaded with amoxycillin just as Adriana has become a Bayer Aspirina para niños junkie. Both little kids have been treated at the National Clinic for stomach and intestinal parasites. I joke about being the healthiest one in the family despite being an antique who should be gathering all these tropical infirmities as an outsider.
I’m looking into getting a watercooler or dispenser and having large bottles of water delivered to the house. If I can give up Pepsi, they can give up contaminated water.