Friday, January 15, 2010

“Is that water?” yelled Earl from the bedroom one morning. Yes, it was water. We had been without running water for a couple of days and it was great to hear it running again. We never know when we will be without running water. The water is on for a few days and then it’s off again—for a day or two or three. One really hot afternoon, Earl took a cold shower. When I went in to take my shower, there was no water. Life is not fair! And it is really not fair to our neighbors who -never- have running water. So I no longer complain. I simply appreciate that we have water at all.
Awhile back, we went a full week without running water. Fortunately, we live on the parish property which has a large underground cistern for collecting rainwater that runs off the church’s corrugated tin roof. At 5:00am in the morning, our neighbors, mostly women with 5 gallon buckets, started queuing up right in front of our home to haul up hefty buckets of rainwater from the deep underground cistern. Then the women walk off with that bucket of rainwater on their head. Hundreds of people came for days – until the cistern ran dry. Shortly after, the water started running again. Thank God…
Earl & I are totally amazed at how very little water we can live on! Have you ever taken a bucket bath? Yes, we use a small plastic bucket (formerly our 1000 gram peanut butter container) to shower ourselves when we can’t take a real shower. Earl says he can take a shower using about 2 quarts of water. Imagine that! We are so accustomed to wasting water because we take this precious commodity for granted.

[I just heard the groans of a goatherd passing by while our 6:00pm church bells started ringing! ]

Living here in Tanzania surrounded by poverty, hunger, and disease, we take nothing for granted. Earl & I try to be intentional about our way of life. Ironically, I find a joy here, because we deeply appreciate the ‘giftedness’ of our lives. In the words of St. Therese of Lisieux, “Everything is a grace, because everything is God’s gift. Whatever be the character of life or its unexpected events – to the heart that loves, all is well.”

Here you’ll see Earl taking a bucket bath! Notice the two buckets. That’s our water reserve when the water is not running. Obviously, the water quality is poor and unpotable, but it is better than no water at all.

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