Monday, December 29, 2014

What Did You Do Today?


“What did you do today?”

“I got water.”

How can I explain that we spent a whole day just getting water? What does that even mean?

Our water system doesn’t work like it does in the States. We have “city” water that comes to our house from the street, but that water sometimes gets turned off. It’s usually not more than a day, unless there’s an issue, like a broken or clogged pipe. When water comes in, it flows into a concrete tank in our back room. If we have good water pressure, it also flows up to our upper tank, located on the roof. If that upper tank gets low, sometimes we have to turn on a pump to fill the upper tank from the lower one.

The upper tank supplies water to the house…the sinks, shower, and toilets. It also provides hot water to the washing machine if I need to wash in hot. Usually I fill my washing machine by bucket from the lower tank. (This helps conserve the water in the upper tank.)

Three days ago we realized we didn’t have water coming in from the street. No big deal. I washed one load of laundry that day, and waited for the water to come back on. I assumed that the water would be back on sometime in the night and our lower tank would fill. The next day, we still didn’t have water coming in. We started conserving water…no laundry, the kids don’t need a shower, and disposable plates. Then we ran out of water in our top tank! (Washing dishes and hands, and flushing toilets pays a toll!) So, we pumped the water up from the lower tank.

With seven people in our home, it really doesn’t take long to use water! (Yes, I know there are only 6 of us, but our neighbor Norma spends most of the daylight hours with us.)

By yesterday morning, we were out of water. We had just enough in the bottom of the lower tank for bucket-flushing the toilets. Clay went to find the guy that controls when the water comes on and goes off. We were told he would turn it on by 9am…great! But we really didn’t expect it until noon. So when the noon hour came and went and we were still without water, it was time to do something!

We knew there was an old spring in our back yard, so Clay and the kids went to dig it out.

Norma mentioned that the “old” pipe still had water. (“Old” pipe? I never knew!) So, I went to locate the old pipe, and sure enough, we had water coming in…to the driveway, not the house. I grabbed a bucket to start filling while Clay finished the hole for the well.

Essentially, Clay and I had a bucket brigade. We started filling the washing machine because laundry was about to become urgent. (We’re going to the city on Sunday, to visit a church for the first time. I want to smell and look clean!) Then I started heating a pot of water for bucket baths. And then we filled the lower tank. We washed three loads of laundry and filled the lower tank. We pumped that water to the upper tank…and the water stopped coming in the old pipe. 

During all of this, I mentioned to Clay, “I’d rather be without electricity than without water.”

This morning the power went out at 6am.

But the water is on in the new pipe…and our lower tank is full again.

In all of this, one of our children blamed Satan. And it could very well have been Satan, throwing garbage at us to see how we would react. Yes, it’s frustrating to know that you have no water because the man in charge of the key hasn’t turned it on for three days. But, this is what our neighbors live with on a regular basis. (They don’t go to the man and ask him to turn it on. They just wait.)

Frustrating…but it’s temporary. And so is life on this earth…