Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D.
Today is indeed another very holy day in the Christian world especially remembering the Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, where the Orthodox Church in the Holy Land will celebrate this particular feast thirteen days from now on the old Julian calendar. I am sending my sincere good wishes to all who honor this special day. It’s good it was not a church day for me since I did not even have a drop of water to brush my teeth never mind take a shower.
You wake up in the morning and when you cannot get any water out of the faucet and you are part of the privileged less than 10% that can afford the extra water reserve from additional water tanks and two wells, it really reflects a water shortage. A few years ago our water in Taybeh was turned off just two days a week but due to the lack of water and extra illegal Israeli settlement expansion all around us, the water is currently turned off four days during the week. This is devastating when the four days are consecutive days of “no water” since even the well dries up.
Some morning conversations with my daughter home from college usually go like this: “Elena, you look so nice, did you manager ok without water?” Although I know she used half of bottle of Este Lauder, I am just trying to make a little breakfast conversation before she heads out to her internship at Birzeit University where she will call me to complain at the first checkpoint.
“Yea, mom, I used the bottle to throw water on my face and some on my toothbrush and I am never coming back here again.” In the mean time my husband comes to the kitchen to empty out a few bottles of water in a buck and Elena forgets this is how we flush the toilet. Well, it’s another day where you cannot turn on the dishwasher or the washing machine. And if I did have the water, the electricity went off five times today; probably my appliances might have an electric shock. I think its good that I have only blown up four computers in the last ten years so I continue to have one good one working, Compaq, by the way.
In the middle of the day when the dishes are piled up in the sink and the husband forgets “there is no water” he begins to scream and yell. Well, I say to myself, which part of “I don’t have any water” you do not understand.
I have a beautiful crystal clear view of the illegal Israeli settlement across from my kitchen window and I have to practice “love thy neighbor…love thy enemy” commandment and not be jealous since the settlements have water seven days a week and twenty-four hours a day. If everyone was cut off from the water it would be more balanced and fair because you feel everyone is trying to pro-long the water usage. The bias and unjust policies are directed at Palestinians only. But, the illegal settlements all over the West Bank come first in controlling the natural resources and are a huge obstacle to peace.
In very rare occasions when I have special guests that stay with me and they do not realize about our water shortage, they will bring the reserve bottle of water from their bathroom to the kitchen: “I think someone forgot this in the bathroom?” And I think it’s hard to explain that some days even the water coming out of the faucet sounds violent on this side of the world because when the water is running low it comes out with a loud gushing off and on noise that you actually feel like throwing a bottle of water on your face than listen to the water making these terrible pressure sounds early in the morning.
And, it’s really wonderful to have solar energy to get the water hot but the problem is that the tank is sometimes empty so nothing in there to make hot. And, don’t bother asking what is in my swimming pool.
While I am battling the water problems in my little Christian village there was a bloody shoot out last night between Palestinians in Gaza. It seems that Hamas is not strict enough or Islamic enough so even more fanatic radical groups want to take Gaza over so the Islamic cleric that declared all of Palestine “An Islamic Emirate” was shot to death. Islamic what? And here I am in the middle of the wilderness working for a free Palestine…a democratic and modern Palestine…a moderate Palestine…and to top it off…the Taybeh Oktoberfest, October 3 & 4, 2009 to boost the collapsed economy. If I have not asked for your prayers before, I seriously need them for a peaceful passing of this particular event among crazy circumstances.
However, cold water or hot, some days there is absolutely no water available in my house so I am just drinking up a lot of Taybeh Beer and thinking of some Bible quotes to gain inner peace: “I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people, and to His saints: but let them not turn again to foolishness. Surely His salvation is near them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.” Psalm 85:8-9