Voda… Bosnian for Water

“When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water.”                                                               -Benjamin Franklin

          I feel like one of the first things I ask when traveling to another country is whether or not I can drink the water.  I feel very fortunate in the United States that my tap water is potable, but that is not the case in much of the world.  I think that we sometimes take our water sources for granted, and I wish that we had a better understanding of how much of a gift clean water is, not to be squandered.  The countries I have chosen to travel to in Asia and South America have no options but bottled water.  It is such a scary realization that this life sustaining resource will make people sick in many countries.  I do not know how Americans became a culture of bottled Dasani and Fiji water drinkers, but it frustrates me to know how lucky and how unappreciative we can be for our water systems and sources.

Bosnia, on the other hand, has water that is not only clean, but delicious.  I have never been much of a water drinker, always forcing myself to drink it because I need to, not because I particularly enjoy it. That has not been the case here in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Not only is the water here clean, but it tastes fresh and pure (and is rumored to have “fountain of youth-like” qualities).  Never have I been somewhere that has clean fresh water pouring from the walls at all times.  Natural springs are tapped, and the water flows freely for all to drink.  We even drank water straight from the rivers and streams that we hiked and rafted along.  While I have accidentally swallowed river water and been concerned about afterwards for days at home, I feel refreshed to drink it on purpose here.

One of my favorite sources of water is right here in Sarajevo.  Just inside Old Town, where the streets are cobbled and the shops sell tea sets and rugs is a beautiful mosque.  When you come up to the mosque you always notice a crowd of people.  In coming closer you realize that they are all taking advantage of the water freely flowing from the stone wall.  People are washing their hands and feet, filling up bottles or drinking from cups made of their hands, and children are laughing and splashing, all enjoying this life sustaining, clean source.

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What a lovely aspect of such an interesting country.  Water is life and Bosnia and Herzegovina has some of the best in the world.

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