My post about the rains coming was premature. That storm, while impressive, delivered very little water, the one two days later was barely enough to wet the dust, and after that it stopped even trying. It continued hot, and we continued with unreliable water, only available some distance away, if that. (The eventual analysis is that it was so long since it had rained that the water table was very low and the pumps could not consistently reach the water. Cue concern that we will either wear out the pumps by running them dry, or deplete the water table so badly that we won’t have water at all. The school (150 people during the day, and 30 boarding students and staff) hadn’t had water for about three weeks, and eventually purchased a tank that they’d haul around on a truck to refill elsewhere.
By the middle of last week I was beginning to wonder when, in good conscience, I would next be able to wash my hair.
Internet and power have been somewhat sporadic, too, but it’s been the water thing that’s really getting to me. These problems may be related, since internet requires electricity, and some large portion of the power here comes from hydroelectric plants, which I assume can’t produce as much when the water level is very low.
I now know that I can carry 17 liters of water on my head for upwards of .2km. The only problem is that after this distance, it’s difficult to get the bucket back down to the ground, and upwards of 2/3rds of the water acquired in this exercise goes immediately to refilling my water filter.
Needless to say, I was greatly looking forward to last weekend’s excursion to Livingstone (description and pictures from that next post, if the internet holds out). The hostel promised 24/7 hot and cold running showers, and I concluded that if I brought only dirty clothing with me and washed it there to wear it and washed it again to bring it home clean, I would be able to go another week without doing laundry in Macha (which, indeed, was the case).
And then. AND THEN! It rained two nights ago. I awoke (unless it started before I went to sleep) to majestic rolling thunder and impressive flashes of lightning, and the marvelous sound of rain pouring down on the roof. The power promptly went out (I can tell because my fan turns off, as does the porch light, which shines in my window), but it was RAINING. It rained and rained and rained and rained and rained in the gorgeous pitch-black night, illuminated by frequent lightning. At about 4am I got up and put my biggest basin outside under one of the parts of the roof that dumps water onto the porch. Unfortunately, by that point, the rain had slackened, but half of my bath (and hairwashing!) water the next morning did not need to be hauled from some distant tap.
The next morning, the ground was WET. There were puddles. There was occasionally mud. As I left for work, I encountered Lidewÿ coming back home with an impressive streak of mud up one side of her leg.
It rained again yesterday evening, not as hard, but fairly thoroughly. This morning dawned fair and clear, but during my lunchtime nap, the sky got lovely and threatening again, and as I write, there is distant thunder, and cool, damp breezes blowing in the windows. We had water at the back tap yesterday morning, and again in the afternoon.
I think I have never in my life been so pleased with any weather phenomenon as I am with this rain.