Dawbies in Africa


12 Nov 2012


Last weekend the water was cut off at our flat without notice. The reasons why are lengthy & aren’t important. What was important was that we had no opportunity to “fill up” whatever we could in anticipation of the water being cut-off (& then not being re-connected for four days!)

The first day was manageable, the second day a little more trying, the third day was wearing us down & by the fourth day we were well & truly over it.

Without water:

#  You can’t fill up water bottles

#  You can’t do the washing up

#  You can’t wash yourself

#  You can’t wash any clothes

#  You can’t flush the toilet (which was the most pressing issue)

Our work around was to obtain two large water containers (drums) & have them filled up via friends each day. It was surprising how quickly five people would go through one large drum of water.

On Thursday the water was re-connected much to our delight! We sent SMS messages to family & friends telling them the good news (as if they really wanted to know…………however we were very excited). 

At midnight one of the family went to the toilet & in flushing the chain accidently broke the float. The water wouldn’t stop running into the toilet & making a lot of noise in the middle of the night. Mike’s pet aversion is anything to do with plumbing (especially toilets) so he was not impressed to be woken at half past midnight to assist with a toilet problem.  Simple you say, just turn off the tap at the base of the toilet you say. Well we did that however the tap wouldn’t turn off properly & the water was still running! So in the middle of the night we were outside in the darkness turning off the mains water tap to the flat. That temporarily solved the problem. So all in the one day we rejoiced at having the water turned back on after four days, & then a few hours later we promptly turned it off ourselves!

Don't take this important household item for granted! 

Whilst we were challenged by water issues this week, at the end of the day it was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. We had a Plan B & it worked well. Water was still easily obtained & life went on. For many millions of people in the world, water insecurity & poor (or non existent) sanitation is the norm. They simply do not have access to clean drinking water & even if they do, might have to devote many hours a day to drawing & taking it back to their homes. We might smile at the lack of a loo, however many millions of people do not have access to a toilet (think about the implications here). There are very significant, even deadly, flow on effects in health from the lack of water security & sanitation.

A challenging week however nothing in comparison to those around the world that face possible deadly choices every day by drinking contaminated water & having non existent sanitation. 

Our two Namibian "nieces" whom we share a flat with (along with the ups & downs of no water).