At age 30, I have experienced for the first time in my life what it feels to be without water.

Drink more water. Or you might die – Mick Jenckins (Jazz, 2014)

Don’t get me wrong: I actually grew up with bare access to drinking water. But this happened in Paris and it was the first time I felt so trapped.

I grew up in South America. On lands that we made ours. No Native American had a problem with it. We couldn’t say the same for the French Administration who seemed to feel that a poor immigrant family taking a piece of land on their colony meant less tax money. Destroying those houses was their best response. But I digress.

Boston Geyser © Davon Henry 2015
Boston, Summer 2015

While we had limited access to the administration drinking water, we never felt that we missed it. My father had a well built way before we put the first door to our house.

It was admitted as one of the children’s chores that as soon as we felt the first drop of rain, we had to take out the barrels to have them filled with God’s natural beverage. And in Yana (or French Guiana) it rains a lot.

The combination of this with our trips to the city center to get drinkable water made it feel like there would never ever be a shortage of water.

When a pipe broke down below my Paris appartment in 2015, I felt for the first time how vital water is. 24 hours with it meant a lot.

No shower. While it is ok for some, it is something difficult for me (will probably come back to the subject later). But that’s nothing. No water to drink. That’s obvious. No water to cook. That’s when your realize that cooking REQUIRES water. Rice, pasta, vegetables, mashed potatoes… water, water, water. No poo. Or you can’t do it twice. No hand cleaning. That’s when you realize…

While the connexion to nature is easier to make in Yana, I suddenly felt overwhelmingly dependent in Paris. The corner café for my toilets needs. The Kebab restaurant for quick food replacement. The swimming pool for shower.

Bref, respect water.

Davon Henry