Here the alternative before I can bathe, brush my teeth, and/or shave is to take my two buckets and walk down with my friends to the nearby well. And I mean walk down, because the well is wonderfully positioned at the bottom of the hill our hostel sits on. While there's something fulfilling about dropping that silver pail down the well while trying not to get rope burn on your hands or let the pail hit the fern-covered sides, I miss the time when water kindly obeyed my request by falling out of the faucet in my wall when encouraged by the turn of a knob.
A couple day ago, as we waited for one of my friends to draw water, I commented to another that it had now been a week since we had water. His response put me in my place: "Yes, John, but we have water. In India, many people have no water. There is some problem, but we have water." I realized immediately he was completely right; because of climate change, pollution by Western corporations, and a whole host of other causes I know too little about, many people here (and elsewhere) have lost the ability to use the water near their homes and are forced to walk miles each day.
Leaving the States hasn't perfected my awareness of global problems. Even in India I take for granted the convieniences I do have and forget that there are those who suffer to meet their daily needs. It frightens me to think of how much more disconnected I will be from my global siblings once I return to the States, but one of my goals for is to constantly work toward a higher level of awareness. But it will take an extraordinary of initiative; even when we live in the Majority/Third World, it's possible to protect ourselves from harsher realities. But doesn't this only limit our immersion in God's creation.