Of Generosity and Snooty Norwegian Water

Imagine my surprise Thursday morning when I looked in my inbox and saw that I had not one, but two donations to my charity:water project, Aqua Jade! I saw the two were for the same amount and from the same person, so I figured there must be a glitch in the notification system. However, when I logged on later, I saw that the person had, in fact, donated twice. Now, this may still prove to be a clerical error, and that’s just fine with me. I’m still stunned by her generosity.

Why? Because I have no idea who “Shawnee M” is. Literally no clue at all. And she gave me $100—my biggest donation yet.

She and I could pass one another on the street, offer to hold the door for each other, or even have a moment of polite conversation while waiting in line and never know that we are connected in one of the most intimate and wonderful ways possible—love and kindness.

This is the second donation I’ve gotten from someone I have no way to thank. Like Blanche DuBois, I’m “depending on the kindness of strangers” for this little attempt at helping others because there’s no way I can come up with that kind of scratch on my own. (I work for a non-profit for goodness sake.) And two people have already stepped up, one of them doing more than double what I did for the cause. She helped not one but four people gain access to clean drinking water by giving to someone who can never repay her for her kindness.

Shawnee M—whoever you are—know that you blessed me in a way you can never imagine. I can only give so much. But if my campaign and my story can get just a few wonderful people like you to help out, we can change the lives of an entire village full of people in Ethiopia. These are people who will never know the prosperity we enjoy every single day. It’s a privilege to serve them alongside you.

A project like this compels a person to see the world in new ways. What could easily be taken for granted are cause for introspection, a reason to question the “why” of things. Honestly, I don’t buy bottled water. Not because I’m against it for ecological reasons (though that thought has crossed my mind) but because, at home and at work, I have access to clean, cold, filtered water any time I want. I put it in cups or my wicked cool Marvel aluminum bottle that I got on sale for $2.50 at the Disney Store. (Yeah, I’m grown. What about it?)

So it’s only natural that I can glide on by the wall of water bottles at the local grocery store every time I run in there. (I don’t know about you, but if I don’t need something, I’m not wasting the time it takes to walk down the aisle.) Today though, still thinking about that $100, I took a look at the endless supply of bottles and thought about just how blessed I am.


I counted fifteen brands. Spring, drinking, purified, and even fluoridated. Flavored, flat, and sparkling. It comes in plastic bottles, ones made of glass, and even aluminum cans. It’s topped with everything from sport lids to screw-on tops. Man, we are truly spoiled for choice.


And this is something about which I must rant.

Of all the bottles on the shelf, which were arranged in order of price, Voss took the grand prize for cost. Two glass bottles of water for $5.00 (at a savings of $.50 mind you!) Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure it tastes great…you know, like water. And the bottle is quite well designed. It’s clean and simple, like something out of Tron. And, to Voss’ credit, they do have a foundation that supplies clean water to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

But there’s something in me, call it common sense, that just can’t fathom paying $2.50 for a bottle of water. Even if it is, in their words, “taken from a virgin aquifer that… has been shielded for centuries under ice and rock in the untouched wilderness of Central Norway.” It sounds like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, not a bottle full of hydrogen and oxygen.

Image from comicvine.com.

The money someone spends on eight bottles of this stuff could buy a lifetime of clean water for a person in need. Eight bottles is…counting on fingers….168.8 fluid ounces. A gallon is only 128. So for $20 you get less than a gallon and a half of water. Foundation or not, that’s ridiculous, Norway. You have some lovely fjords and were the birthplace of both Edward Munch and Henrik Ibsen. The Vikings were pretty awesome, too, as is the Nobel Prize.

A-ha wasn’t bad either. In fact,  if I were an evil overlord bent on destruction, I would spare your frigid nation only because of “Take On Me.” But you can keep your snooty water.

3 thoughts on “Of Generosity and Snooty Norwegian Water

  1. Ms. M is a kind person, and VOSS is da bomb. I am a snooty water LOVER! And I am a Brita water filter user. Like a yummy wine, I love to treat myself to bottled water instead of tap from time to time. The VOSS glass bottles are reusable as are the hip blue Ty’nant bottles which hold the still as opposed to the red Ty’nant which are still funky but contain the sparkling. Those blue bottles are so pretty in the fridge being reused, holding cold filtered water. But, we are a country plagued by choice and excess. We are too busy (lazy) to chop and filet our own chicken, so at the market there are shelves of fresh, bone-in, bone-out packages of chicken parts. To us it is normal, to a friend’s aunt who is from Cuba, it is cause for a full blown meltdown into sobbing tears. She is lucky to receive 1 skinny chicken a month and the meat department at Publix got the best of her and Wil tells me entire families get two (2) eggs a month so think what a stroll down the dairy case might do to her. Good on you, TA for stepping up to provide clean water to those that badly need it! And, if you find yourself in line at Marshall’s someday and spy a bottle of VOSS discounted, give it a try. It is tasty! Especially cold. But, I think the Ty’nant is better. What? I am a sucker for pretty glass bottles.

    1. The bottles are great, and it’s a nice perk that they’re reusable. Something in me just can’t pay that much for water though I am a bit of a snot and won’t drink just anything. I was spoiled growing up because our town had amazing water from an aquifer. It tasted like heaven out of the tap. I miss it. 🙂

  2. I just wanted to add this comment….yes, fancy water to getting to a crazy price level. But if you look at it this way the 800ml “glass” VOSS bottles are a bargain!!! First – the water tastes great. (you might go meh…water is water…ok) Second – You’re helping a Foundation to expand clean water in other parts of the world too! (you might go meh…I can donate on my own..ok) But THIRD – Did you go out and buy a fancy water bottle and pay $5, $10 or $20 for some plastic branded name water bottle for the gym or work? ….then you just wasted your money. It makes better sense to re-use a VOSS glass water bottle! Now do you see why I say its a bargain? You can help & save money at the same time. Just something to think about…. enjoy!

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