Why I’m Grateful for Reverse Osmosis

Photo credit: Peter E. Lee via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: Peter E. Lee via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Of all the things people take for granted, clean drinking water is probably the biggest one. I don’t.

I come from a Hmong family. I was a very small child when my family had to hightail it out of Laos for helping the Americans fight in Vietnam. Because I was so little, I don’t really remember crossing the Mekong river or living the Thai refugee camp. My memories begin in America and I won’t say I’m not grateful for that.

My mother and father remember it though. Clean drinking water was nearly impossible to come by in the refugee camp. My father still talks about the first time he turned on the tap in our first home in America. He said that everything we went through to get to America seemed worthwhile when that cool clean water poured over his fingers.

Almost two decades later, after my parents had saved enough money, they bought a small house in Columbia Heights. The first thing my dad bought for the house was a reverse osmosis system. I asked him why he bought it. Why did he need that when there was nothing wrong with the city tap water?

“Perfect water is possible,” he said. “That’s why we should have it.”

I have to admit, ice cubes made from ro drinking water never smell weird and never mess up my mai tais. Seriously though, it drives me a little bit crazy when I see that people don’t realize what a big factor clean water is for quality of life. If you ever invite me to your house, the only thing you need to make me feel welcome is a cold, clear, dripping glass of water.

Posted in History & Culture

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