Monday, September 07, 2009

We Interrupt Your Life...

To remind you how dependent you are on that basic necessity of life, water.

Sometimes life in this country can throw some curveballs. Even after living here for five years, establishing a comfortable home, and thinking that we are usually pretty organized and have things set up relatively well, a simple thing like, um, say, the water being turned off, really can throw life for a loop!

Last week the whole week, there were random periods of no water. Most of them happened at night, so it wasn't too concerning--just the occasional afternoon when (after already having completed lunch dishes) we discovered there was no water. It was usually on again after a few hours or so, ok, no big deal.

Yesterday, however, at the height of the weekend where I had made several simple meals and dirtied quite a few dishes, (ok, ok, most of the dishes in my cupboard), we discovered the water was off again. At first I was a bit (inwardly) gleeful . . guess those dishes will have to wait! But then as the hours went by we were all getting a bit antsy. The toilets had been used multiple times and not flushed, John wanted to take a shower before we went out to eat, the kitchen was not really usable in its dirty state, etc.

We were somewhat prepared for something like this--had some empty 2-litres filled up with water. But it wasn't nearly enough to flush the toilet, do my mound of dishes, or even really bathe with. Wow, I hadn't realized how much water is used even to fill my sink halfway!

This morning my helper arrived and said there was a notice posted downstairs. (Another advantage to being able to read this language!). Apparently there is something wrong with the pipes, they don't know what it is, and they can't find the problem. The water is off indefinitely--it may be numerous days or even a week. There was a tanker truck providing water in a central location of the apartment complex if you brought your own containers, stood in line for it, and then carted it home.

My helper said, "It's a return to how life in this country used to be!" This used to be how people who didn't have indoor plumbing got their water--in a central location, carrying it home. She also said that everyone in line was really disgruntled. (She used all of our saved containers and filled them twice today.) There are 21 high-rise buildings in this complex; my helper estimated between 6,000-7,000 people. Nobody knew the water would be turned off, so no one had prepared. If I had known, I would have filled my tub with water, filled my bucket and large pot, washed all my dishes, did a load of laundry, and made sure all of us were clean. As it was, the girls and I had all bathed yesterday morning, so I'm thankful for that because it may be awhile until we get another chance!

So, such is life. Things like this really help us realize how dependent we are on water! And how much water we use on a daily basis. It really is a precious resource and I think I will be more careful to conserve it in the future! And not to take for granted that almost-miraculous instant stream of water (usually) when you turn on your tap!

Ironically, it rained all day today. Lots of water outside, but none to be had inside!

And what did we end up doing last night? John didn't want to go out being all grimy, so we ate some random leftovers from the frig, crackers and cheese for the girls with yogurt to drink, and stayed in, trying to avoid the kitchen. Thankfully, today, we did get all the dishes cleaned up and went out for lunch to avoid dirtying more. Tonight my helper will make some food at her house and bring it for lunch tomorrow to avoid even more dishes. It's the simple life for us these next days! I'm going to think of it like camping, but with the luxury of my own bed and frig. Just be glad you aren't here to smell me!

1 comment:

sandra said...

Oh my. When I lived in the countryside (11 years ago!) I spent a lot of time managing water as we would go almost 2 weeks before water was frequent again. I had a complete "water management system"! I can't imagine doing it for your entire family. Hang in there! hugs!