Way back in August, I was trying to think of a way to help all the families in my village improve their water situation. The first thought that jumped to my head was “Water tanks, of course!” However, water tanks for a whole village is a big undertaking, and I wanted something small that each family could do with their own resources. Aha! Rain gutters! Everybody in my village has a tin roof on their fale, but no rain gutters, so the water falls off in many little rivulets, which takes a little while to fill a bucket in a heavy rain. But if you collect multiple little rivulets, buckets will fill a little faster. Wanting to demonstrate this for the village, I went to the hardware store, bought a pvc pipe and some wire to hook it up to my fale, and asked for help when I got back to my village.
“No, you don’t need that. We asked for water tanks from the Mormons and the pastor will be getting a water tank.” (The longer story behind this was that he had asked someone in the village to write a letter asking for water tanks to some Mormon organization that makes donations.)
Kalofai. A water tank would be great, but it would completely defeat the purpose of putting together a makeshift rain gutter so that other people in my village could see how it worked, and, if they wanted, rig something up of their own. I had reset my goals to a small step to make the problem a little less overwhelming, and now I was back to the big solution.
That was back in August. Two weeks ago (in October), a water tank magically appeared. By this time, I was completely convinced it wasn’t coming. The next question was if they could use my pipe to hook up the water tank. “The Mormons only gave one pipe for each tank, but we want to collect more water, can you ask Peace Corps to give you more pipes?” “Peace Corps can’t give me more pipes, I bought this pipe myself, but you are welcome to use it if you need it.” Then the water tank sat there for a while, and after another week or so, it was hooked up to the house. A little cement base appeared, rain gutters went up, and all the pipes were connected to the water tank.
This is another one of those bittersweet moments. Yes! I have water in my backyard (it has actually rained enough that the tank overflowed and the excess was coming out through a crack in the top). This will make it so much easier to flush my toilet, do my laundry, fill my water filter, and I may even start cooking just so I can wash dishes! The downside of it is, now that I don’t walk across the village multiple times a week to take showers and do laundry at the waterfall, I’ve become more of a recluse. I would generally only nod to people and exchange greetings as I was walking, but I saw people on a daily basis. It also filled up my afternoons. And yes, my family has a water tank, but what about everyone else in the village? Only 5 families have water tanks, and that doesn’t really change anything. I’d still like to write a grant to get water tanks for the rest of the village, but first I need to figure out where you buy them (nobody seems to know) and how much they actually cost so I know how much money I’m looking for. I’d also still like to rig up some type of rain gutter, but since my pipe is gone that means I would have to buy another pipe or figure something else out, and that takes so much effort. Not to mention, I would probably have to do it myself. This is a project I would actually want outside help with, but I’m putting good money on getting a response of “but you don’t need it, you have a water tank.”
So yes, my life has simplified immensely (at least as long as it keeps raining and keeps the tank full), but, man, convenience makes me lazy.
|The water area known as sinasina falls. It has been much improved|
since the water went off - pipes put in, rock beds made so you have
a flat surface to work on. It's pretty snazzy.
|The little pond where I used to wash my laundry. It's been collecting|
sand somehow, though, so now I don't use it anymore because my clothes
don't come out quite clean.
|My new preferred laundry spot. Has a pipe and a|
nice pile of rocks at the bottom.
|More of the same|
|This is where all the water comes from. The picture doesn't show it|
well, but it's just a dripping wall of water. I feel like it belongs in
some hotel in Vegas. I probably saw it at Rainforest Cafe.
|The vaitaele - the pool. All the water went away when it didn't rain|
for months, so it's been collecting trash, moss, and plants, and now
that it's raining again, it looks like slime.
|This is where I shower. This is the preferred pipe to|
use because it has the most water coming through it, so
it's always busy with people with HUGE baskets of laundry,
dishes, and anything else to clean.
|The view from the shower|
|The water tank|