We have gone as a family to the Navajo Nation three times now. We started when Princess was six. Each year I look on it as an excellent time of family discipleship, as the kids grow and stretch themselves. This year was different though, this year I was more aware of the priveleges we have, and I took the time to remind the kids of how great our life is.
(This post was sponsored by WaterTestingKits.com, opinions are my own, and I highly recommend if you’re in an area affected by hurricanes you pick up a kit, it could be very educational)
We have running water we can drink right from the faucet
My daughter routinely complains about what our water tastes like, “Why can’t I have a water bottle?” is regularly heard from her.
That complaint stopped when we went to the Navajo Nation. Most houses don’t have running water. They have to drive to a natural spring.
I know, you’re thinking natural springs, that’s what our bottled waters are from. Not this natural spring. It’s not potable. This year when we went to the Navajo nation we took a water testing science fair kit (looking over their site more, I realize I should have used the well water testing kit and tested the waters from the spring.
Not too surprisingly it tested as very hard, actually harder than the EPA would prefer, just barely. It also had unusually high amounts of copper in the water. Also above the EPA recommended amounts, though just barely. The alkalinity was also rather high.
Imagine driving a truck 20 miles every day to get water for your house. Many in the Navajo Nation do that. In other countries, they don’t even have that option. They’re walking to go get water.
We also tested the water at the house we were staying at, and the church we worked at. Both had treated water. Everyone staying there drank the water. We drank the water every time we came there.
The water was right on the edge of what the EPA would call potable (we probably should have also tested for lead as some of the pipes are older in the church).
This was treated water.
Do you want to know the other option?
Drive for 30 minutes to go into Farmington and haul water back. Do you want to drive that far to get your water every day?
Toilets that flush
The first time we visited the church, you want to know what the big deal was?
They had REAL flushing toilets. But, those toilets could not handle the sheer amount of people we brought to help. So we used outhouses.
This summer the boys helped dig a new outhouse hole for one of the Navajo men. He was 80 years old, and he supervised those boys as they dug the hole and helped them out from time to time.
On Thursday afternoon we got to sightsee, and we went off the part of the Reservation we were on and stopped at a gas station with REAL TOILETS. There was a lot of rejoicing in our group.
Having power at our houses
The first time we went to the Navajo Nation we met a lady who had been trying to get electricity to her house for several years (to respect her wishes I did not take a picture of her house, but it was amazing). She kept being told it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. She did not have that money. This past year she found a way to get solar panels, so she could have electricity at her house.
She was in her sixties. Let that sink in. She showed us the hogan she grew up in with her 10 brothers and sisters. It’s smaller than the room I sit in now, and we all looked at the home and wondered how they fit all those people in that small room.
An adjustable thermostat you can control the temperature
This may seem like a small thing to some of you, but I live in Texas y’all, and it’s over 100 for about 3 months straight, and then over 90 for another month or two.
The church we worked at, and the house we stayed in had swamp coolers. Basically it blew air in that had a slight mist in it. It’s not really cooling you, it just makes you think you’re getting colder.
While we think of New Mexico and think hot, right? It’s cold in winter, like they actually get snow. My kids are so jealous of their snow. They heat their houses with coal they dig out from an open coal mine.
Having a hot shower
It may not seem like much, but it’s amazing how a hot shower changes your morale. At the end of a long hard day of construction work, it’s amazing how good a hot shower feels.
Only we didn’t have that, and most people around the world do not have a hot shower. Or running water for that matter. Just think about that again for a minute.
I have a complete second science fair water testing kit I bought, what else would you recommend I test?
The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our water testing kit, and it was fascinating to see what the water was like on the Navajo Reservation, but I’m trying to think of interesting water to test here. There’s a part of me that wants to use the water testing kit on the water from my kitchen sink and then the water from a toilet, though they also have a complete home water testing kit, I wonder how the results would be different. Wouldn’t that be fascinating to test?