Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Water, water

Water – that’s a subject in its own right. It’s very nice to have running water. I’ve had a bit of a week with water, one way and another. We have one temperature of water here – I wouldn’t call it exactly hot or cold, it depends what the weather has been doing where the pipes are. Often in the kitchen it comes out the tap about right for washing up, but if not can top it up with some from the stove. The shower is quite a pleasant temperature most of the time – this morning for the first time it felt a little cold. All these things are comparative! Anyway, water is all very nice in the right place, and not to be taken for granted. The day after I moved in, we had first a power cut – to be expected at this time of year when power is under pressure everywhere – shortly followed by a water cut. I thought they might be connected – that the water might be pumped some where – but no. Turns out, surprise surprise, that it’s connected with the change of tenancy of the flat and something somewhere has not been signed or paid or some form filled in. Not nice, having no water in this heat. I had a couple of bottles (no, water) in the fridge to drink, so that was ok, and I scrounged a bucketful from next door for the basics. But eventually I got fed up with it all and went into town and treated myself to an afternoon by the pool, after which I felt better. Anyway, Ali the fixer for VSO sorted it all the following day, after a rather sticky night.

That day someone came to set up my drinking water filter, and seemed to have got it going – but it seems it was not something he was very familiar with. The filter is slow getting going and seemed ok when I went to bed, but in the morning there was water all over the kitchen floor – on inspection I realised he had not fitted both the tap washers on the outside, none on the inside (imagine something like a party beer barrel…) and so I fixed that myself. And at least the floor dried quite quickly. The next day, there was a universal water cut-off, again overnight – this time I had a couple of bucketfuls by me which I had filled up just in case. Eventually some water was delivered in containers…. Things we take for granted!

Then of course there is the stuff which comes from the sky. According to the guidebooks, it doesn’t rain here until later in the year – although there are apparently light ‘mango rains’ sooner. Anyway, someone hadn’t read the book because Saturday, clouds gathered, winds got up, and from about 4 for about an hour it rained harder than any rain I have ever seen. The street, usually full of activity – most life is lived outside – emptied. Bikes skidded on the greasy surface, and the road outside my window became a river, the drains overflowed and all sorts of rubbish floated by. They say (joking I hope) that babies get carried away in it and it could be true. Huge great eddies of red brown water. Then it eases back and eventually stops, leaving tides of mud behind, which eventually turns into dust. And the people reappear and start clearing up and resuming business.


  1. Wow, what an adventure! Burkina looks like it's a facinating place. You'll have to tell me all about it when i see you at Tom's wedding!

  2. Look forward to reading more!