Water and other essentials of life

My cat, Chattimec, loves his water filtered, with ice.  He sits outside the door of the room his dish is in and patiently waits until I notice him. When I do observe him, I coo and praise him while I refill his water dish.  Chatty enjoys the ice cubes and laps until his thirst is quenched.    Getting his fill of water is something my cat has been able to do all of his life.  Yes, Chattimec is a spoilt, suburban pet.
Lately, however, this ritual of ours has been making me think.  I live in upstate New York.  Just outside of the chaos left behind by the Super Storm Sandy.  I am mesmerized by the news, watching familiar and unfamiliar places float across my TV screen.  The destruction is unfathomable.  So it is, when I give my cat his chilled drink, my thoughts focus on those who are struggling to obtain water and other supplies essential to daily life.
On different social media sites I have read and I have seen on the news, the generosity of the citizens of these United States.  Those far away are sending what they can.  Others are volunteering their time and helping to clean up the mess.  Some, living in the midst of the catastrophe are organizing drives.  They are delivering food, clothing, medical supplies and water to their neighbors who were left with less than them.  Help, slow at times, is getting through to those who need it.
In our country many of us enjoy having our basic needs met every day, without question.   Our homes have running water, heat, and beds to sleep in.  Most of us have access to all and possibly more food than we could need.   When a disaster, such as Sandy, occurs, the generosity of my fellow countrymen always amazes me.  We see the suffering and respond.  We understand the lack of a home, clothing, food and water must be met with money, donations, and volunteers to rebuild, clothe and feed.  Americans don’t like the images flashed before them in pictures and on the news of some of their fellow countrymen and community hurting.  Thus, the response is always generous, beautiful and heartwarming.
I know that eventually, and it will seem like an eternity to those trapped inside the destruction of Sandy, order will return to that part of our country. We, as a nation have been through this before and so we know how to go about rebuilding.  Streets will be cleared, homes will be repaired, schools will be back in session and businesses will reopen.   Water once again will flow freely through pipes and into houses and apartment buildings.  Food will be found in groceries and on the shelves in people’s home.   The volunteers will return to their lives, the donations will stop.  The giving community of my fellow citizens will go back to the routines of their everyday lives.
This leads me to my next thought, as my mind wanders through these scenarios, and I set my cat’s dish down on the floor.    The reality of having water when it is needed or wanted makes me think about those who live in countries where water has never flown freely.  Where just having a drink of clean water is a novelty.  I think about those in the world who have never slept in a bed or even for that matter, had a home.  I am reminded, occasionally, with commercials of starving children of just how dire some situations are.  Consequently, for several years, I have put my money where my mouth is, and donated monthly through Childfund (www.Childfund.org) to a child in need in this country.
It would be a lesson well learned, if we Americans don’t forget the horror of the visions we see of the disaster known as Sandy; the scenes of fellow humans going without the basics of life.   I hope that we can take the generosity we display to our fellow countrymen and extend it to those in need elsewhere in our bigger community of the world.


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