Friday, June 14, 2013

Annual water essay

Perhaps you know the song about how you don’t miss your water until your well runs dry. Every year here in Belarus our well runs dry at least once. This time it happened the day after we arrived. We sure didn’t expect it. We carefully read all the notices on our door as we came home, noticing when we should help with community projects and so-on, but seeing nothing about any upcoming maintenance projects. “Looking good,” we thought. Maybe we missed the cold-water-only weeks while we were away.

I didn’t take a shower right away after my bike ride the next morning, and when I finally turned it on I only got a trickle. We’ve handled this situation often enough that we knew exactly what to do. Alla started draining the water from the pipes above us into saucepans in the kitchen while I did the same thing in the bathroom with an empty six-liter bottle we keep on hand for such emergencies. After filling my bottle I filled a wash tub and started bathing with the cold water still dribbling from the tap. Once we had our water and Alla helped to rinse me off, she called City Services to find out when we could expect our water back. Five o’clock.

Feeling smug with all our extra water, we lived fairly normally all day, though we didn’t wash any dishes or flush the toilet but once. Still, when we started preparing dinner without water we began to worry. Alla called the City Services people back and asked what happened to their five o’clock plan. They said it wasn’t their fault. Somebody from another department got to the site late but we’d have water in a couple more hours. We did not. I figured I could shower at the sports facility in the park if we still didn’t have water in the morning, but it finally came back just as we went to bed.

I tend to take running water for granted, and I don’t really know how many people are involved on a daily basis in making it happen. I just wish the folks around here could make it happen closer to 100% of the time.

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