Staying young with Kaballah water. Yup. that’s singer Madonna’s latest discovery to staying young and beautiful.

And that beauty secret doesn’t come cheap: In Touch Weekly Magazine reports that Madonna spends ten thousand a month on Kabbalah water:

“Madonna drinks a lot of water – that’s one of her fitness secrets,” her pal told In Touch. “And this is the only stuff she will touch.” According to, the blessed liquid “manifests water’s primordial capacity to heal and protect.”

Usually I’m ambivalent about rich people’s money habits. After all, it’s their money, and a lot of that money goes to buy stuff that lets people have jobs…I remember one self righteous politician who decided to tax yachts…and destroyed the US yacht building industry in the process.

I mean, if it wasn’t for mankind’s tendency to buy useless luxury items a lot of our village based “livelihood” projects in the Philippines would go belly up…(The government sponsored livelihood programs let our farmer’s wives earn extra income at home. If you bought a lace covered satin Christmas ball, it probably was made in the hills of Luzon).
So why worry about an aging rock star who wants to waste money on fake bottled water?
But Madonna seems to be more interested in her own publicity than in poor people.

I  wrote an article a couple months ago criticized her for adopting a boy living at an orphanage who had a loving father: noting that the child could not live at home without mom’s breast milk, and that such placements were often temporary, whereas many children were true orphans.

My criticism was that the adoption seemed to be more about her (and her publicity) than about the child.

Well one of the problems of small villages in sub Sahara Africa is bad water. Why not drink spigot water and donate the difference to save lives by paying for wells?

The rains are seasonal in much of East and Southern Africa, meaning six months of rain, six months of dry.

When it’s dry, you may have to walk miles to the creek for water, and often bath in mudholes and small ponds, meaning there is a danger not only of diarrhea disease, a common cause of death, but of Shistosomiasis.

The answer is to dig wells.

Shallow wells are the easiest: Local village men dig them and the cost is mainly for supplies. LINK explains one church’s shallow well project.

You just can’t dig a hole: The walls will collapse. You have to line the well with bricks. But wells open to the air with buckets are dangerous: animals and small children fall into wells, so you need a concrete cover, and a pump, usually a simple hand pump, to bring the water to the surface.

Now you have a water supply for cooking and washing and bathing,(meaning fewer skin disease, fewer flies and body lice, fewer diseases spread via dirty hands, cleaner clothing, and no danger of getting schistosomiasis. ) However, you still have to boil or strain the water to prevent diarrhea viruses and bacteria from contaminating the water. But it’s a lot better than no well, especially for women whose job is to tout the water home on their heads.

Estimated cost of a shallow well: $350.

For truely clean water, you need a borehole. We had one at our hospital in Africa, and here in the Philippines our house has a 100 foot well with a pump (installed before city water was clean and abundent). Estimated cost: $6000 for a shallow aquaphor well, 50 t0 120 feet deep. And the pumps is either electrical or diesel, so needs someone to keep it going.

This borehole well water is safe to drink: it is deep enough for the dirt and clay to naturally filter out disease causing bacteria, but it has another problem: In some areas (e.g. Bengladesh) there has been found trace elements such as arsenic that make long term use of such water dangerous. so the next step is to find cheap ways of removing the arsenic in drinking water that can be used in these villages…LINK

So while Madonna sips her expensive water and touts the health giving benefits, other unsung and unnoticed people are trying to supply safe drinking water for the rest of the world.

And maybe that water isn’t perfect, and maybe it won’t allow a fifty year old woman to look like she’s 18, but it might mean that some local kids actually grow up to be 18 years old instead of dying of water borne illnesses.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket, and she writes medical essays to Hey Doc Xanga Blog

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