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I teach abroad and continue to pursue the life I was given as if it was my last. Many people think it is. In my spare time, I enjoy lapping up ice cream, reading spy novels, and euthanizing manta rays.

Sunday, October 17, 2010



I just completed a week without running water on campus. Filling up jerry cans (yellow gasoline-sized cannisters) each day at the only pipe on campus takes time and planning..and patience. Luckily, it's Dan's job. I just put the cans on the patio each morning and magically the reappear, filled to the brim a couple hours later.

Water is so important here. You wouldn't believe how many people take trips back and forth to retrieve it on campus. The yellow jerry cans are all over the place. Women lug them back on their heads. Kids take multiple trips, rest when they see a friend, then resume toting the jugs back home. Men toil a jerry can in each arm, walking half a mile or more back to their home. Quite a sight during a week like the last.

Water finally came back on Friday morning. Having two gas cannisters is enough for one day of use but it still limits you. Flushing the toilet once requires 1/2 a cannister, boiling water for cooking or bathing: another 1/3. Washing dishes: a quarter cannister. Washing clothes: at least another 1/2, depending on the load. Drinking water for the morning java: a cup will do. I use bottled water to brush my teeth and obviously for my own drinking during the day.

I did some laundry this morning and there's plenty more to wash tomorrow. What makes washing difficult is the red dirt caked on the bottoms of my pants. I need a combination of detergent and JIK, a stain removing product, hot and cold water, and of course time. Time for the solvent to do its job and remove the grime. And time to rinse, squeeze, hang and dry. With wind on my side, things get done. With rain or heavy air, it could be an entire day before the clothes are ready to wear.

Mother nature, the world's most unpredictable clothes dryer.

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