Saturday, August 21, 2010

just when...

Today, just when I was getting really really whiney (in my head) about the (lack of) water situation here and the power problems and the dust (dirt) EVERYWHERE, one of the ladies who works in my house started casually telling me about HER situation.  She lives in a small (really really small) two bedroom house (shack).  She doesn't have water (or electric) into her house and she has a hole outside for her toilet.  The house is about the size of my bedroom.  This house is bigger than her last house.  When you don't have water into your house (like most of the people in this overcrowded city that has no infrastructure) you get water from your neighborhood well or spring (usually a faucet or two coming out of the hillside).  When it's dry season, some of these neighborhood wells/springs don't have ANY water for the thousands of people who live in these neighborhoods.  The city becomes full of 1000s of children wandering the dusty streets with yellow jerry cans looking for water.  This means you have to do one of two things, usually both.  The first is that you sleep very lightly or not at all, so that you wake up quickly in the middle of the night (usually around 1 am) when someone in the neighborhood puts out the signal that the water is ON!!  EVERYONE runs with all their containers in the middle of the night to these measly faucets.  Mostly the kids are sent running.  Then there is fighting and arguing.  Then the water stops.  You are lucky if you get any water.  The next morning, (again, if you are lucky) your mom goes to work (like the woman telling this story). While your mom goes to work, you and your brothers and sisters and cousins (all 7 of you in this case) go hiking far away to the next neighborhood where you have heard there is water.  Well, everyone has heard there is water here.  You wait in line with 100s and 100s of people (mostly kids) for your chance at the faucet.  It might come.  It might not.  There are police guarding the faucets.  If someone with a car and some money comes, they pay off that police officer and fill all their many containers.  If you are lucky, you make it home with 10 Liters of water for the 9 people in your house for one day...to cook, to clean, to drink.  Meanwhile, back in my "house" I am whining because I might have to go to my HUGE outdoor cistern that is FULL of water and lug a bucket of water in the house.  But what is a bit disgusting to me about it all is the reality is that I won't even do the lugging!!  This lady will!!  Sometimes, it is hard to live with myself here, uggghhh!!!   May I NEVER forget these days!!!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

This is a great story that I wish everyone of my high students could read. We are so lucky to be born in the US and we take it all for granted.