By Mike E. Lilly, author & educator
Long before Flint’s water emergency, I learned how crucial
— and how precious — clean, safe drinking water can be.
From 2007 -2012, I lived and worked in Nepal, a Third World country. My wife, Sushma, was born and raised in Kathmandu. Together, we worked as social activists focusing on educating children and their health and welfare.
Water in Nepal
In our home in Nepal, we had little or no electricity most days,
continual gas shortages and always, always water shortages.
Every Tuesday at 5:30 a.m., a man on a bicycle delivered two five- gallon containers of water to our home — a luxury that not all our neighbors could afford.
Even then, we did not take water for granted. During monsoon season we harvested rainwater, storing all we could in a big tank to use when there was no water or there were political disruptions by the Maoist insurgents who regularly shut down the country.
We always had to boil our water before we used it. We always had to ration and reuse our water.
We made do.
A Flint Family
In late 2012 we moved to Flint to continue our work for children. Late last year, we became foster parents of a 2-year-old girl who did not talk or walk and had other health problems.
We knew that immersing her in love and attention would overcome her delays and problems. Giving our daughter opportunities to explore and guiding her on her adventures, we are driven by love. We continue to spend our time focusing on her development and good health.
Our daughter is now 3, attending an early childhood learning school and blossoming in her social skills, language and motor skills and problem-solving skills.
We live in the 48503 zip code area so once again we face a water crisis. We have been fortunate to be less affected than others. Our daughter has always been given bottled water and we use it for cooking and for bathing her. The home we live in has newer plastic pipes and our landlord is installing a water filter for extra safety. Water is a basic necessity. Everyone deserves to drink and use safe water free of fear.
We want our daughter to have a future of success and opportunity, free from health concerns. Her cognitive development could have been affected by the tainted water.
Our daughter will be healthy and well-educated. She continues to be our No. 1 focus. Our duty as parents is to do whatever it takes to insure our child’s safety and guide her choices and give her our attention and protection. We must be ever vigilant of anything that would prevent our children’s success.