By Moonyeen King
President of the Board for Tepehua
With so many people posturing about the water situation around the world, here at Lake Side people are stepping up to the challenge. The side effect of polluted wells are many, but the major one is kidney failure in the young and middle aged. Of course, kidney failure in children has many factors, first being what they ingest.
When a Barrio Mother has a choice between tap water, bottled water, milk or cola, she will choose cola, because it is cheaper than milk or bottled water...she knows she cannot risk tap water. Especially as it is a proven fact that boiling alone will not solve the problem...water has to be filtered. Even that does not remove arsenic should it be in the water, this has to be a reverse osmosis process which removes everything, almost. Arsenic is not in the Lake water, which if filtered is good to drink, only the wells are suspect.
One could say the disease is called corruption, because maintenance on wells cost money local Governments are not about to spend on little people. The Tepehua Community Center is putting a band aid on the situation, we are starting a water station to sell garrafones at cost to people, and having free urine testing at the Tepehua Clinic. If kidney disease is caught in its first stages it can be reversed...but stages 4 and 5 it is too late. Nutritional education is needed.
To start the mammoth task of testing, H.O.W (Health Outreach for Women) sent their Head nurse Olga Lara Aguilar, to help the Tepehua Clinic set up a testing station, and Tepehua’s volunteer Dr. Zayra Patricia Valencia was on hand to do the diagnosis on the spot. Maskaras Pharmacy C.A.R.E. supplied the dip sticks and the sample pots as a donation, and the testing will go on as long as it is required. This is an intervention operation...we need the cure of clean water. People should not have to buy water to drink in this 20th century.
Studies have been made that show the connection between lower income and education and consumption of cola’s. There is good evidence of cola’s ability to pull calcium from young bones and induce kidney problems more so than non-cola soda’s.
BBC News had a segment on “Mexicans dying for a fizzy drink” literally, by consuming an estimated 163 liters per person on an average year. In January 2014 a tax was put on all sugary drinks to try and abate obesity. A physician once said Mexico’s love affair with cola is culture. The writer cannot see that, as Coca Cola came to Mexico in 1898 and began sales in 1903, replacing the traditional lunch fresh fruit flavored water. The giant industry gave away free refrigerators to little taco stands and restaurants to further promote Cola’s.
The consequences of this, as stated in the Guardian, written by Rosenberg in 2015, showed in 2006 when a Health Survey of Mexico, revealed Mexico as the most obese country in the world with diabetes as its leading cause of death. No other country in the world experienced such a rapid rise of that magnitude. Mexican cola’s control 73% of the market and all attempts to educate the people of the danger was never implemented due to opposition from the Industry.
Whilst the Industry promotes many health programs and sporting events, it is because they will face a future battle with Health Authorities, with all eyes on Mexico. Now the sources for the disease has been identified, and more exposure made in the media, it is the long fight back to ‘choice’...one should not have to choose the lesser of the evils because of poverty, one should be able to make personal decisions, if you choose to drink cola in spite of the warnings it is on you...if you have to drink cola because you cannot afford water or milk, that is on the Government.
MOONYEEN PATRICIA KING
Column: Profiling Tepehua
Settled in Mexico 13 years ago. The intention was to retire into the arts as a writer, poet and painter...that didn’t happen. Beneath the smiles of the peoples of Mexico there was such a great need for change, especially for the women and children of the barrios, Moonyeen has dedicated these years to change the face of this little corner of the world. The work done by the volunteers of the Tepehua Community Center is teaching that change is possible anywhere. Moonyeen was portrayed as “Woman of the Year,” also two Paul Harris Rotary awards for the work done at Tepehua. “Life in Mexico is very fulfilling. The Mexican people give so much more to us immigrants than we can possible return.