Saturday, March 12, 2011

a world without water

There's no water. In our village, water is a constant problem for people. Though most people have taps in their yard or plumbing in their house, this does not mean that water will come out of these taps. In fact most of the time, water does not come out of the tap. It's sporadic, some people we know have gone 9 months without water. While the longest we've gone is about 2 months (right now we're about to pass that point). The water usually gets turned on after rain, but we haven't had rain in a while. We've also heard rumors that the ward counsellor (our government representative, just like in American cities) has paid them not to turn on the water so his friend can get a contract for water trucks. This is just a rumor, but at this point, who knows. What I do know is that the water trucks are not sufficient to meet the needs of people in the village. They come at different times during the day, won't drive down certain roads (like ours), and some people have told me they haven't seen one in weeks near their house. For people who are home all day, getting water is a bit easier, but it sometimes involves waiting in line with buckets for hours. If you work, it's close to impossible to get water. Some people dig in the bed of the dry river for water. This isn't common most of the time, but as the situation has gotten worse recently, there've 5 to 10 people there every time I've walked by (and that's just one place along a long riverbed). Because the Department of Education gives our host mother money for electricity which is more than enough, we were able to use that money to buy water to fill our two tanks. But this is relatively expensive (about $80 for 5000 liters as much as some people earn in a month), and if you don't have large water tanks like we do this makes it impossible.

What is hard for us to understand is why people do not dig wells. As South Africa is such a developed country, most wells are dug by machine making them very cost prohibitive, but it's hard to understand why this prevents people from just starting to dig. I know it's not glamorous, but when you have no other option, why not just dig? It's crazy the things people will do and refuse to do in order to be assert that they live in a developed place when the reality is that they do not have access the services that developed places do.

No comments:

Post a Comment