The past week has had its share of complications. The largest pill to swallow, however, has been that we only have running water from 7:00AM-Noon and then again from 5:00PM-9:00PM. This is actually a huge improvement from how bad the water crisis was in the spring and summer months. There were several times between March and May that we would go 24 hours without water on consecutive days.
Our city doesn’t have city water or water towers. This is a well society. The wells are dry. Everyone is dependent on large water tankers (antique trucks that leak nearly half their capacity –or so it would seem- by the time they reach their destination). These tankers dump water into dry wells at the base of every building in our mega city.
If you live in an independent building, like we do, the tenants converge to discuss how much water they want to pay monthly to receive. As an American, I feel that running water is a human right, so it was shocking to me that the middle class residents of our building decided it was sufficient to have water for no more than nine hours each day. Sometimes we actually receive that water, but sometimes the watch guard will forget to turn on the pumps and we will lose 30 minutes to an hour of our water ration.
Let me specify that this is unfiltered and unpurified water strictly for cleaning. We do have 20 liter bottles of water on a dispenser machine that are delivered to our flat for drinking purposes. Do not worry, we are well-hydrated. Having a reverse osmosis filter is not an option in our building, due to the water ration.
Water, even for cleaning, is a necessity. This is even more felt when you have a toddler, a baby, and unwanted guests. Allow me to explain…
My big girl began potty training this month, which is not for the faint of heart. She has the heart of a tiger and an unbridled spirit. There has been an amazing increase of laundry this month from underpants, cleaning cloths, and towels.
Also, both girls have been sick this month more often than they have been well. The inability to adequately wash our hands during times when the water is shut off has facilitated the ease of spreading simple viruses. Our hand wash station during outages is a pitcher of water that sits next to the sink.
Last Saturday, during the water being off, a cockroach family crawled up the drains to our apartment on the fourth floor and in through our sinks. They obeyed the creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply, bless their hearts, and invaded our lower level cabinets, frontier-style. I loathe cockroaches. We spent several hours (during water hours) cleaning out those cabinets, sanitizing, and leaving poison for them.
It was in the middle of the night that we discovered strange bites on ourselves and a bizarre rash on my big girl. Uncertain of whether we had bed bugs or worms, we took extreme countermeasures. In addition to everyone having deworming meds, we cleaned all of our bedding, rugs, floors, anything that has been touched or had dust on it (eggs could be therein), all of the girls’ toys and stuffed animals, and all surfaces of the house. This took two full days to accomplish since we have a small washing machine with low water pressure, nine hours of water access daily, and no clothes dryer (we air dry).
The straw that broke this camel’s back was an act of defiance by my big girl in which she took the contents of her potty and painted her bedroom with it. This disaster happened after her room had been fully sanitized, including wardrobes, bedding, floor, door, switches, and door. It made the books OLIVIA the Pig and I Love You Forever look like their mischievous antics were no big deal. My big girl had a very long time out that lasted the length of time it took her father and I to clean up the whole room, including the wait until 5:00PM for the bedding and curtains to be spot washed and put into the washing machine. Oh, my.
The following day, my big girl ended up with a bizarre rash around her mouth that was pimply and terribly itchy… in addition to the already recognized rash down below. Disturbed, we called a nurse friend who diagnosed the likelihood of yeast involvement. For good measure, we washed her bedding again and used antifungal meds on her.
That afternoon, her father was reading the Bible and his Psalm of the day was Psalm 91, you will not fear…the plague that stalks in the darkness, or the pestilence that ravages at noon. That evening, our family devotional from the Jesus Storybook Bible that we read made both of us laugh because it was about the plagues in Egypt. We join the plea, “Let my people go!”
We will go. The tickets have been purchased. There are three months left. Three. Months. On December 5th we will return to the USA for six months of family time. On weeks like this one, three months feels like an eternity.
In the meanwhile, the Father is reminding us daily that our struggles are important, and that we don’t need to worry. Whether virus or bugs, He has us in His care.
Will you pray for us to be a blessing to each other and to our neighbors in these last three months?