Sunday, 5 July 2015

Water or not water?

Water may seem secure and reliable for most of us back in our home countries. In here, it is much less of a given resource : we are surrounded by streams, it is raining almost everyday ; yet our taps remain empty for more than half of the week. As often in India, it is all about contrasts. The Naddi hotels show off with impressive number of tanks of water and the number of leaking pipes is ever increasing. On the other hand, families in Naddi don’t necessarily have running water in their houses.

Living with short supplies of water is challenging for sure and has actually led to lot of skills learning. For the first fews days without water, we were lucky enough to find water at the office, just 3 floors up. It was just a matter of carrying the buckets back down, under the intense scrutiny of the construction workers working next to our house. It’s when this back up option stopped that things became a lot more interesting.

How to do the dishes, flush, shower, or simply wash hands ? Luckily enough, there is a public tap nearby. By public tap, I mean a broken pipe that dispenses some water. This lead us to get to know Deepu, whose chai stalls is right next to the tap. Also, needless to say that foreigners waiting by a broken pipes with buckets at their feet is attracting much attention and we have offered entertainment to more than one person.

However this arrangement could not last forever and the ‘public tap’ – to our despair – got fixed… But in India there is always back up plans to the back up plan. Indeed, couple of meters after Deepu’s shop there is a temple. And the temple conveniently has a tank full of water. We need to share it with people who come in here to pray. At first they are surprised to find us there, but - after some starring - they are rather amused by our situation.

In addition to finding new supplies of water, we had to learn how to use our water as efficiently as possible. Baby wipes and 2 liters showers are part of our routine. Flushing is done only when necessary. Plate sharing and cup mingling has been adopted in the Dal Lake flat. And whenever water is back, we turn hysterical and run around filling our buckets and completing our collection of bottles, graphically lined up on our kitchen and bathrooms floors.

 Bottle Collection

As a result, even though water shortage is not fun everyday, we have learnt how to appreciate simple things. The sound of water running down our tap has become music to our ears and a bucket shower (or better: through the shower head) is assimilated to happiness. Simple things…

Harmonie Bucher - France
Women's Health Project Manager and Health Coordinator, Naddi

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