To drink or not to drink

When traveling in the developing world, the first rule you learn is “Don’t drink the water!” I can attest from personal experience that our pampered first-world immune systems don’t stand a chance against the parasites and bacteria that infest everything from drinking fountains to that bad piece of lettuce you ate for lunch. That’s why I spent most of my recent trip to Nicaragua avoiding any water that didn’t come in a sealed bottle.

The keyword in that sentence is most.

Before I finish my story, a disclaimer is in order: Cross Catholic Outreach does not generally recommend consuming water from remote, rural Nicaraguan villages where the roads are dirt paths and the primary mode of transportation is the horse-drawn cart.

You can imagine my trepidation, then, when Amigos for Christ founder John Bland led me to an outdoor water faucet in rural El Chonco and refilled my bottle. Yes, I was thirsty. Yes, the dry heat was sapping the life out of me. But still I had to ask, “Is it safe?”

As you’ve probably guessed, I survived the encounter. But I did more than just survive. The water was cold, refreshing and more agreeable to my palate than the tap water in my own home!

Cold, clean water now flows to the homes of Nicaraguan families once plagued by chronic dehydration.

I’d already known that the new Cross Catholic Outreach-sponsored water system was a huge leap forward in terms of health and sanitation. The water is filtered, chlorinated and pumped out in abundant supply to the homes of families who once suffered from chronic dehydration. But until that moment, it had never occurred to me that the system would deliver water as pure as anything available back home. Yet there I was, drinking a liter of the stuff and not getting sick!

It’s great to see believers coming together to give their very best to the poor – not just throwing crumbs from the table of prosperity, but inviting them to the feast.