Thursday, September 15, 2011

Water!

For drinking, cooking, and bathing I use about one and a half 15-liter buckets of water a day. There are wells just next to my compound, but they're open and not very deep, so stuff can fall in and they could be easily contaminated by runoff or seepage, so I go a little further, to the forage hand-pump at the elementary school across the way. I have buckets with lids, so I can strap them on the back of my bike, but sometimes I just carry them on my head like most of the other women. It's about a three minute bike ride or a five-to-ten minute walk, and I only do it once or twice a day, which really isn't so bad. On days when I do laundry in village I just bring my clothes over and wash them in tubs under the mango tree where pretty much everyone else in my neighborhood does their washing; carrying the clothes over to the water is a lot easier than carrying all that water back to my hut would be. 

This blue baignoire tub holds about 20 liters, and most women carry them on their heads. They wrap up a scarf or small towel or something to make a little trivet-looking round of fabric to provide some padding, and people help each other lift the heavier tubs up onto their heads. Men don't fetch water as often as women do, and they're more likely to use bikes when they do. Most people don't use lidded buckets, but I see a lot of men and boys using empty 20 liter fuel or oil containers, like the yellow one in the background here. 

The "forage" hand-pump at Salemata's Elementary School

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