Wednesday, February 13, 2008

All hail buckets and head torches

What should this fact tell you: The Congo River drains more than 1.3 million square miles, and, over a mere 220 miles, it descends nearly a thousand feet..?

Two things, I would suggest:

1. There is no water shortage in the Congo, at least not in the vicinity of the river.
2. There is no electricity shortage in the Congo, given the river’s incredible, unrivalled hydroelectric power.

Wrong, and wrong again.

Today we celebrate a welcome (if overdue) occasion: the return of running water after almost ten days without. Now it’s true that no African experience is possibly complete without its fair share of cold rainwater bucket showers, basin flushes and mineral water teeth brushing, and it certainly makes one more understanding of colleagues who on occasion smell rather less than fresh in the morning. Still, I was overjoyed to come home tonight to the long-awaited news that I could finally indulge in both washing my hair and pooing, without fear of running out of water.

Our 70's style bathtub

But then, just as I was basking in the luxury of lathering my hands under the tap, whilst mentally composing an ecstatic text message to our friends who so kindly allowed us to use their showers when we were reaching desperation point, I heard a frustratingly familiar click, followed by the inevitable pitch blackness. When it’s not one, it’s the other.

So now, there’s only one thing left for me to do: go take a shower while I still can.

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