Agua

Realization of the week: I have not valued running water enough in my life. I really thought I did, but I was wrong. A couple years ago I spent three months in Mozambique and our water would go out for 1-3 days at a time, at pretty regular intervals. Even at the best of times, we only flushed our toilets once a day to try and save water so that it wouldn’t run out so often! I was ok with this situation, and had a renewed appreciation for running water when I got home. But there’s something very different about being in Africa, where you sort of constantly expect to be inconvenienced and have planned ahead to have a good attitude, and being at “home” and having the same problem.  Anyway, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, the water went out a couple days ago. A workman rang our doorbell (we have yet to figure out why he rang our door and not anyone else in the building) and Caleb went downstairs to talk to him. When Caleb came back up, he said the only word he understood was “agua.”  So we tried the water, and it was a trickle. No big deal, I figured they would work on it and turn it on later that day, but we waited (both of us nice and sweaty after working out) and waited, and nothing happened. I talked to neighbors and the shop owners below us, and no knew what was going on. (This is when we realized the only person the workman had spoken with was Caleb! great!) Not only that, everyone was supremely unconcerned about the whole thing. Oh Spain!

(As a side note, that shop owner asked me if I was “la mujer del ciclista.” The cyclist’s woman? Really? Maybe it’s not as weird in Spanish.)

The next day Caleb left again, and our house was pretty ripe smelling. I was not a happy camper. “What if the water never comes on? What am I supposed to do? Who am I supposed to talk to??” I said to him while I freaked out a little, picturing a bathroom overflowing with sewage and me wandering around the city government buildings plaintively crying “no hay agua! ayudame!” I’m just kidding, but really what do you do? I still don’t know. Luckily that workman came back and of course, rang my doorbell. I went down, hopefully asked him if he was turning on the water, and he said yes! I rushed back upstairs, flushed the toilet a million times and started washing the dishes. Then he rang the doorbell AGAIN. This time I got a complicated description of why he had to turn the water off again! He knew I wasn’t getting all of it, (my Spanish classes never covered plumbing, my bad) so finally he just said “if I leave this water on the whole world will flood!” Evidently the solution to dealing with a stupid American is extreme exaggeration. He then asked if I would explain the situation to the rest of the building and I said absolutely not. I told him the owner lived above me and got out of there to finish washing my dishes before the “world flooded.”

In conclusion! I have no idea what really happened. The water was off for the rest of the day, but came on again at night. And that is all I know. There has been no flooding, so far. But if there ever is, I doubt anyone but the stupid American on the third floor will be concerned.

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