Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Water Wars

Yesterday the water was turned off. I thought nothing of it because this is a typical occurrence. Every day for a few hours, the water just does not run. It is a hassle only because it always catches me off guard, like just as I am going to rinse out my laundry or do my dishes. I have learned to be quick and do my dishes immediately after eating as a result. Between the possible threat of no water and the very real threat of ants and mice, it is best to get that chore out of the way sooner than later.

I went for my run as normal around 5:15 and figured the water would be on by the time I returned home. For the past week it was coming back on pretty consistently around 6pm. So I enjoyed an intense run and then came home, only to find that no, the water was still not back. Being that it was Monday night, I was expected at my neighbors’ house for dinner at 6:30. I took my chances and went out to the water tank, which hasn’t worked since March. As luck would have it, the spigot turned and out gushed water! I ran inside, grabbed a big bucket and gleefully cleaned up before dinner. I paid some attention to my laundry, which had been sitting in a soapy heap since early in the afternoon, and got it all rinsed out and hung up in the shower. Leaving clothes on the line over night is an open invitation for the village to take what they want, so I have learned not to do that.

Laundry and bathing – these are two things I have learned to do quite well with a bucket, even when water is running. It’s the small things that catch you off guard though, like going to flush the toilet and having no water. Or planning to fill my water bottles only to realize that I let my water filter slack and now need to top up the barrel; with no running water, this becomes a huge ordeal, trudging out to the cement water tank, filling a bucket, boiling the water, letting it cool, and finally pouring it into the bucket to be filtered out as drinking water.

Before going to bed I prepared for the possibility of no water in the morning, although I did not actually believe I would be in the situation. I topped up the toilet, filled a bucket for my bath and a pot on the stove to add hot water to my bath, and the hot water boiler for my coffee. I went to sleep dreaming of the trickling noise I would hear once the water began to flow again.

When I awoke, I did not ever think to check the tap. I had not heard the pleasant dripping of the toilet being refilled and I knew I had my answer – it was to be another day of water tank usage. It was kind of dreamy in a way going out to fill my bucket as the sun rose (I ended up needing more water than I had put aside.) I got to school at my normal time and told myself all will be fixed by the time I return.

No such luck. It is amazing how fast you adjust to the situations you find yourself in, and using the water tank, while not the most convenient, is not that bad. However, I was curious – is it just my house or are the other houses nearby having water troubles as well? My pipes are old and made of plastic and tend to disconnect easily if a child or pig steps on them the wrong way. I asked one of my neighbors and was dumbfounded at what I discovered – the village next to ours is stealing our water! They put a lock on the spigot that allows water to enter our village and will not open it. So I asked who is responsible for fixing this situation and was told the water committee. However, since they are all out of town, the water issue might persist for a while. I am thankful that I have such a huge water tank just outside my door and that it has been raining practically every day to keep that tank full. For now, buckets it will be. The amazing thing in all of this is I am not even fazed by it – it’s just kind of the norm now. Let there be rain, and all will be good.

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