It’s been raining a lot, at least once every three days, and frequently a few hours a day for several days in a row, or raining hard several nights in a row. We’ve also had more of the pouring, exuberant rain that we got a few times at the beginning of rainy season, the kind of rain that completely overwhelms the rather inadequate gutter system on the Wooden House, sending water almost sheeting off the roof on all the low points. If I put my biggest basin — the one that’s so large that I almost can’t move it when it’s full, much less lift it — under one of these drip cascades, it fills in a matter of minutes. This also cuts the heat marvelously, and while it’s still hot some days, I haven’t needed my fan in weeks.
All last week, there were signs that running water would return.
The pilot’s family had water from all of their taps, including the kitchen sink.
There was water at the upper Zambezi outdoor tap for the first time in weeks.
The Dutch kids in the Zambezi six-plex had running water, and we had water at the taps behind the house.
One night I heard the toilet filling, slowly, slowly, slowly, and a day or two later Clare scolded me for dumping water in the toilet to flush it, because there was water in the tank.
This was very exciting. (Except for the scolding.) It was also rather prolonged, due to the fact that we kept having power outages, and I think I’ve mentioned that the pumps don’t run when there isn’t any power. Thankfully they do seem to have acquired more diesel for the generator, which mitigated the power situation somewhat, but still meant that water was very slow in returning.
And then — and then! Friday at lunch, I happened to glance at the sink, and it seemed wetter than usual, not wet like someone had poured something down it, but wet as if it had been dripping, and the drips had splashed . . .
Cautiously, cautiously, I turned the tap, and water came out! I let out a whoop that startled the poor fellow that had wandered in with Clare, and did a small celebratory dance.
Even with continued power fluctuations, the water situation is as good as it’s been since the first month I was here. I am incredibly pleased. It’s nice to have running water in the house, of course, and also to be able to rinse off in the shower (though mostly I haven’t been, because a lot of the time it’s a bit chilly for cold showers in the morning or at night, and there usually isn’t enough water pressure for a shower in the late afternoons, when it’s hot enough) but the best part is having a toilet that flushes reliably.
What’s odd, though, is how quickly I forget. Not when I’m actually using the running water, which makes me happy pretty much every time (although I have noticed that I’m using more water for things like washing dishes. But I do still collect rainwater). And I haven’t forgotten that there is running water; I don’t find myself getting water from the bucket when I could be getting water from the tap. But if I’m not actively using the water, I forget that there being running water is unusual, something to be happy about. On Saturday I had to go the Choma to sign papers for the Ongoing Saga Of My Work Permit, and Eric asked me how things were going in Macha, and it didn’t even occur to me that THERE IS WATER AGAIN was exactly the sort of thing he was asking about. I meant to post this last weekend, but the power kept going out and I didn’t get around to it, and then by this week, I’d almost forgotten that this was news that ought to be shared. How quickly luxuries become normal.