"We got our drinking water from the rain, and when it didn't rain, from the stream. It had a funny taste and sometimes you could see oil floating on top. We bathed there and washed our clothes there. We knew the water was bad for our health, but what could we do? There wasn't water anywhere else."
– Woman living near Texaco Shushufindi oil field
Rivers are, and have always been, absolutely essential for the livelihood of those who live in the Amazon Basin – they are truly the lifeblood of Amazon communities. Indigenous people living outside of cities (and there were no cities in the area before Texaco's arrival) do not have indoor plumbing. They bathe in the rivers, wash clothing in the rivers, drink river water, cook with river water, eat fish caught from the rivers. They have been doing this for centuries without incident. By rendering these rivers toxic, Texaco (now Chevron) has caused a health emergency and destroyed a way of life.
"We dug two wells for water, but in both the water was mixed with oil. We washed clothes in the river but the water was full of oil. We also bathed in the river, which always makes you sick, gives you fevers, skin rashes, bumps. When I was pregnant, I bathed in the river. There was so much salt."
– Woman from Dureno