If you had to choose between electricity and water, what would you choose? This was a question that roused much interest when Zanzibar did not have both for a while. If you choose electricity, you choose your lights at night, fridge, computer, fan, and whatever else you can think of. If you choose water.. well...
The human mind and its ability to tolerate is quite astonishing. It seems to have a memory of its own kind, remembering the most recent experience, and tolerating whatever upto that point. Living in Mtwara, I've been able to observe this feature of the human mind. First, it was my craving for a BLT sandwich that made me think, oh man, life in Mtwara is pretty hard. And then it was the bugs, all assortments. Then it was the dust. Then it was, well, I think I'm okay with not having a BLT sandwich, living with bugs and dust. I've been able to manage, and build up a tolerance for even nominal causes of stress.
And then today, it hit a new height. Twelve days without water. The talk in the neighborhood is about water. Everyone is worried, everyone has only a bit left. I changed my underwear in the morning, and realized that it was my penultimate underwear. Yes, it's about time I do laundry, but no, I can't sacrifice water at this point. Twelve days ago, I had about 200L of water. That's a lot if you think that's drinking water. But it's for washing, showering, laundry, flushing, and doing the dishes. Showering without shampoo can save you a lot of water. Then, flushing with the water you showered with saves you a lot of water. Using the water you used to wash your hands can be used when doing the dishes. Needless to say, this is affecting my work, as I'm stressed about this. To make matters a tad bit worse, power cuts are happening every evening for quite an extended time.
I am at my penultimate underwear, and I will have 0L of water tomorrow. I think it'll be over by tomorrow morning after my morning crap.
So back to the initial question, electricity or water? Water, because I do want to use the toilet everyday, and change my underwear too.
Fortunately, I'm done with teaching for the week tomorrow, so I'll be crashing at another volunteer's place, and washing my boxers there. Not having water is not the end of the world. People do seem to continue on living, somehow. Another positive is that next time, ten days would not feel so bad, and the number to beat would be .... say 14.