This is the way the water works at my fale. Either I have water in my fale, or there is water out back at the public tap and bathroom. It’s mutually exclusive, so if the tap is dripping even slightly, I have no shower, no sink, and no toilet.
For those of you who may not have heard, I have no water. I have been in this situation for 11 weeks now. The first 4 weeks were fine because only my shower was out, but I still had a toilet and a sink that were working. Actually it was the first 3 weeks. Then I went and found the plumber to see if he could do anything to fix my shower, and he did. He gave the pipes a good shake and it worked like magic…for 6 days. Since then, the water has been off completely – well, mostly. This is what I’ve learned about how to live without water.
- Everything gets super dirty, even more so than usual
- The meals I “cook” for myself have deteriorated to things I can eat straight out of the packaging, or only require one utensil. This means that I eat either PBJ on bread or crackers, or tuna and cheese on bread or crackers. For breakfast, I eat a Weetbix (the healthiest cereal you can find – it is like a flaky granola bar and you add milk, but I prefer to take a bite then take a sip of milk so it’s not as soggy) with milk right out of the carton. I’m a little ashamed of my eating habits because I feel like such a hick sitting on my porch and drinking milk straight from the carton.
- I flush my toilet once a day by bucket
- Occasional bucket showers (a bucket shower works this way – you have a large bucket of water and a smaller bowl which you use to pour water on yourself. An average bucket shower takes maybe 1/3 to ½ of a bucket), but I prefer to walk a little more than half a mile over the valley and down the road to shower at one of the few fales that still has water (the number of fales with water keeps dwindling…not a good sign).
- Laundry is not exactly a big deal, but it’s more of a chore than it’s ever been before. I walk about a mile to the waterfall just outside my village to do laundry (and to think, I thought 5 flights of stairs used to be a pain in the butt in my old apartment building!). It gets heavy to carry wet laundry back so far, so I’ve taken to carrying my laundry in bags instead of a laundry basket. I can’t justify doing laundry at one of the fales with water. So many people need to shower and fill buckets that it just seems an awful waste to take up such a precious resource by washing clothes.