Friday 16 April 2021
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newtimes - 2 month ago

We’ve been fetching water all our lives!

Some of us used to or still fetch water and so watching Texans queuing up for the same brought back some good old memories. I was nearly in secondary school before we had running water at home. Back then, piped water was a status symbol and you were considered rich if you didn’t have to go down to the well or borehole like the rest of us. Luckily, we had a big steel water tank and a couple of smaller ones for rainy days. And yes, we were one of those families who didn’t play when it came to collecting rainwater so all our buckets, basins and saucepans would be out to collect every drop we could, and I can tell you it saved us a few trips to the communal well. Like I said, Texans reminded me of those days that now seem like centuries ago. Some of them had to melt snow to get any water to drink or use at all. I remember the water struggles in boarding school. If there was a power outage, the water went too and we’d have to go down the hill and fetch some water. We would take turns and it was mostly upper classes that had to do that—P.5 to P.7 —and we would make up to three trips. First round for the school kitchen boilers because that posho and beans had to be prepared. Second round was for the teachers and other senior staff and then the last was for our baths. If it happened to be laundry day, extra trips were in order. Things weren’t much different in secondary school or even university and so water shortages aren’t really new for many us. Even when school authorities arranged for water trucks to bring in some water, it was never enough for all students so we usually had three c go home for a few days, scour the neighbourhood for some, or wait for the water truck then fight like crazy to grab the hose, fill your jerrycan and hope you don’t end up drenched because that’s what usually happened as everybody tried to get some water for themselves. What do I hate most about not having water? It has to be the toilet. Having to get water from elsewhere in order to flush can be a pain. I also hate that crackling sound from the faucet when you open or press the tap and there’s no water. If only we didn’t have to worry about water because it really is life.

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