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Whenever I use city water, I always pray

A day with Flint mom Makielah

The routine of running an energetic home with two teenagers and a pre-teen took on a whole new dimension for Makielah Conway when the Flint water crisis seeped into her residence. Raised in Mt. Morris, Makielah has been a Flint local since the age of 18. A full-time mom and part time volunteer at Community Closet based out of Flint Catholic Charities, Makielah shares how she functions in a typical day.

I always start my day with coffee. It takes three bottles of waters to get a full pot. I need my coffee to get my day going!  We also cook with bottled water. We do have a Zero Water Jug Filter which does a good job, plus the city has given us two faucet filters we use. Whenever I use city water, I always pray, “Jesus, be our shield.” 

They say the water isn’t bad for us to bathe or shower in, but it’s rough and feels hard. You need to use lotion, which helps, but I’ve noticed we’re all starting to get more skin rashes and irritations. We get in and out of the shower as quickly as possible now, and I purchase more baby wipes to use.  I’d feel worse if I had little babies or toddlers because I wouldn’t bathe a little one in this water.

We go through at least two cases of bottled water every day, in addition to what we filter ourselves. There seems to be empty water bottles everywhere! I take mine to the Community Closet and they recycle them by filling them with laundry soap.

They’ve told us the water at school is safe, but I still pack water bottles for my kids every day. It’s scary because we can’t trust if it’s true or not.

I have changed because everything takes longer to do, plus you need to plan your schedule around the water drops. Those can be chaotic and kind of sad because a lot of people don’t have their own transportation and have to walk to get water and then carry it home. Many of the residents are elderly or sick and physically can’t do it.

I find every day is a constant tug of war on my emotions.  I can’t believe how our government has disregarded the elderly, the children and the sick with this crisis. It’s so disheartening. I look at what’s happened with our water and it makes me lose faith in humanity. But on the flip side, I see all these volunteers and people donating and it fills me again with belief in people. I’d like to tell the world outside of Flint, ‘Thank you!” for your donations, love and support. It’s unbelievable!

The scariest part for me is wondering whether my kids will get sick. They’ve told us our water is safe to use with the filters they provided, so we cut back on bottled water, but do we really know if it is true or not? 

I was shocked the situation had been downplayed so long.  When the media caught wind, that’s when it really blew up. Many of us were unaware of how big the problem was until then. I’d noticed a difference in the water, but the city covered it by posting periodic boiling advisories and things would settle down. When I learned the truth, I was terrified knowing how often we used the water.

This has definitely tested my faith, but in general, we are all getting stronger. We are not easily broken. In spite of this, we have to go on, and all the help we have gotten has been so encouraging and I ask that everyone keep praying with us. It will be greater later!