Sunday, February 22, 2009


I will never, ever take running water for granted again. Yesterday I intended to fill up my water container and do laundry but it was over 100 degrees outside. That is way too hot to do manual labor so I put it off until today when it was merely 91 degrees.

The house is equipped with indoor plumbing but in December the plumbing broke. The nuns called a plumber but he said that it couldn't be fixed until the cistern was completely empty. So the Sisters have lived without running water for almost three months. In order to get water, whether it is for cooking, showering, doing laundry, the toilet, or for drinking, someone has to draw it from the huge cistern. We have a bucket tied to a rope that gets lowered into the now nearly empty cistern. Pulling the full bucket of water up twenty feet is not difficult but repeating the process over and over becomes tedious. It is really fun when I get blisters on my hands.

In the past, I never really considered how much water gets wasted. These days I am aware of exactly how much water I use. Showering normally takes half a bucket. Doing the dishes after dinner requires a full bucket. Emptying the toilet uses three quarters of a bucket. Today's laundry required 6 buckets. After washing my clothes I filled up the water container in my bathroom and that took 11 buckets. Carrying the water to my room is probably more work than drawing it up from the cistern. I also have to be careful not to spill it because I did that once and it is really frustrating. The ironic part is that after doing laundry and fetching water, I am so dirty and sweaty that I have to use my recently acquired water for a shower.

So I am done fetching water and my back, shoulders, arms, and hands all ache. Hopefully I will be able to make the water last until next weekend but that requires a little conservation. I would love to take several long showers a day but that would also mean getting more water. Back home I never once gave a thought to which was more important doing laundry, flushing the toilet, or taking a shower. Fortunately, I never had to choose but I have thought about it. All I know is that when I return to the US, I will not take the miracle of running water for granted.

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