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Viewpoints — ‘Whenever I use city water, I always pray’

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The routine of running a home with three children took on a new dimension for Makielah Conway when the Flint, Michigan, water crisis seeped into her residence. A full-time mom and part-time volunteer at Community Closet based out of Flint Catholic Charities, Makielah shares her typical day:

Makielah Conway of Flint, Mich., said she uses three bottles of water to make her morning coffee. She and her three children go through two cases of bottled water every day because of the Flint water crisis. (CNS photo/Tom Gennara, courtesy of FAITH magazine) See GUEST-COMMENTARY March 2, 2016.

Makielah Conway of Flint, Mich., said she uses three bottles of water to make her morning coffee. She and her three children go through two cases of bottled water every day because of the Flint water crisis. (CNS photo/Tom Gennara, courtesy of FAITH magazine)

I always start my day with coffee. It takes three bottles of waters to get a full pot. I need my coffee to get my day going! We also cook with bottled water. We do have a ZeroWater jug filter which does a good job, plus the city has given us two faucet filters we use.

Whenever I use city water, I always pray, “Jesus, be our shield.”

They say the water isn’t bad for us to bathe or shower in, but it’s rough and feels hard. You need to use lotion, which helps, but I’ve noticed we’re all starting to get more skin rashes and irritations. We get in and out of the shower as quickly as possible now.

We go through at least two cases of bottled water every day, in addition to what we filter ourselves. There seems to be empty water bottles everywhere! I take mine to the Community Closet and they recycle them by filling them with laundry soap.

They’ve told us the water at school is safe, but I still pack water bottles for my kids every day. It’s scary because we can’t trust if it’s true or not.

I have changed because everything takes longer to do, plus you need to plan your schedule around the water drops. Those can be chaotic and kind of sad because a lot of people don’t have their own transportation and have to walk to get water and then carry it home. Many of the residents are elderly or sick and physically can’t do it.

I find every day is a constant tug of war on my emotions. I can’t believe how our government has disregarded the elderly, the children and the sick with this crisis. It’s so disheartening. I look at what’s happened with our water and it makes me lose faith in humanity. But on the flip side, I see all these volunteers and people donating and it fills me again with belief in people. I’d like to tell the world outside of Flint, “Thank you!” for your donations, love and support. It’s unbelievable!

The scariest part for me is wondering whether my kids will get sick. They’ve told us our water is safe to use with the filters they provided, so we cut back on bottled water, but do we really know if it is true or not?

This has definitely tested my faith, but in general, we are all getting stronger. We are not easily broken. In spite of this, we have to go on, and all the help we have gotten has been so encouraging and I ask that everyone keep praying with us. It will be greater later.

 

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