Here at LifeSaver we manufacture portable water purifiers that get sent all over the world. They give all kinds of people access to safe drinking water, in many different situations. Unfortunately, being the manufacturer, we rarely get to see or hear from the end users about how our products have helped them. That’s why we all had a smile on our faces last week when we received a brilliant email out of the blue, which reminded us just how useful our products can be.
So earlier today I was going though a few of my old things to clear out some junk, when I came across my old LifeSaver 4000UF bottle. Suddenly I sat down and remembered a promise I’d made myself back in 2010 but haven’t come good on, until now.
I was a Royal Marine Commando serving in Afghanistan; it was my 3rd time there and it was the summer. The heat was horrific (35-42 degrees C) and with all the gear we had to carry we needed to drink crazy amounts of water to stay hydrated. Anyway, about two months in and two of us got placed with an Afghan Army unit. This is the type of thing you dream of as a Marine; ‘behind the lines’, with an indigenous force, no help on hand and only one other guy who you could truly trust. What followed was the craziest five months of my life!
I have never been pushed to the limits anywhere near as much as that period of my life… And I loved it! It was utter exhaustion, both mentally and physically and this is where your product came in. We only got resupplied every 3-5 days by air. But when you need to work out “where can I cut excess weight?” there is only one answer. Ammo we need, as well as batteries for the radios and night vision. Food rations? No, we need the energy. We had already ditched any form of excess clothing or sleeping systems. So the only thing left we could ditch, was clean water, because 1 litre = 1 kg and hopefully we could find some along the way. So we would drink local water, and for the 1st month we had to just accept that every few days we got sick, with fits of diarrhoea & vomiting.
One day while we are out on patrol with our Afghans, we link up with some Americans. We exchange some smokes and had a sleep in the back of an armoured vehicle that had air con. It was amazing! The Yanks properly looked after us for 12 hours. They fed us up and watered us to the point we couldn’t stop urinating. They even set us up a bag shower, so we could wash. Apparently a month of only cleaning with baby wipes had made us smell a little!
When the time comes for us to part ways, the American Lieutenant can’t understand why we aren’t taking more water with us. We tell him we run on 3 litres of clean (bottled) water per day and the rest we scavenge. At this point he opened up an equipment hatch and pulled out two new LifeSaver 4000UF bottles and 2x spare filters. He gives them to us, and one of his guys spends two minutes explaining how to use them.
We left with the LifeSaver bottles, privately sceptical about whether they would work, as from our experience to that point, water purification required big generator powered Water Purification Units.
Were we WRONG! The LifeSaver bottles were kicking out clean water like it was going out of fashion! I mean, we literally collected water from drainage ditches full of human & animal excrement plus the rest of the waste in it. Sometimes we even urinated straight in to the bottles ourselves and drank it. It was incredible. (Not the urine, the clean water part!)
So, in summary why am I telling you about this? Because I swore that I would say thank you one day to the people who made the bottle and increased my standard of living in one of the darkest and dirtiest places I have ever been. It made water safe where there was none and it eased the physical burden of two Marines.
Thank you and keep up the good work!
Engineering student/ Former Royal Marine Commando”