Week 38: Water, Streets, Sidewalks, and Bridges

Water

The water here is crazy!  I walk over to the sink, put my water bottle underneath, fill it up, and drink it.  My toothbrush also just goes right under the sink to be washed off.

Somebody asked me about the water in Kenya yesterday and I realized that I haven’t really shared that here.  In Kenya, the water comes from wells which Kenyans call boreholes.  From these wells, all of the water is pumped into large water containers.  These containers are elevated and provide the water for sinks and toilets.  Outside my Quonset Hut we have two of these containers.  I use the bottom 500 liter container to fill up my one liter boiler doohickey, boil the water and wait for it to cool down, two hours, pour it into a ceramic filter, wait two hours, then have myself some drinking and toothbrush washing water.

It sounds more tedious than it is.  It has just become part of my life that I don’t think twice about anymore.  Therefore, putting my toothbrush under the sink again is taking some getting used to and drinking water straight from the tap without any boiling or filtering is… well… crazy.

The most frustrating part of the water bit for me is that I have to carry around a water bottle with me all the time so that I know the water is safe.  I don’t mind carrying a water bottle mind you, but it is when I am asked why I always carry a water bottle wherever I go that I feel misplaced, “Because the water here will make me sick.”  Sounds easy enough to say, but this definitely comes across with the message I hate sending and feeling, “Your water isn’t good enough for me.”

Streets

The States’ roads are amazing.  There’s no other way to put it.  I hear people talk about how bad some road is here or how construction has been going on forever there.  I’ve been a complainer.  I think I’m going to be quiet post hence.

My favorite story about the States’ roads occurred when I was living on Cosmas’ Island, Mfangano (blog post about Mfangano here).  I stayed with his pastor who had been to the States before and would tell me about how wonderful the States are as if they were heaven.  One night at dinner, I decided to set the record straight.  “The States are not heaven, they are far from it.  Over half of our marriages end in divorce, our culture is the most materialistic in the world, we had slavery, segregation, … (I continued my tirade for a few more minutes).”  I finish and feel that I have laid out a very thorough argument against the States being heaven to which the pastor replies, “BUT YOUR STREETS!!!”  Everyone has their own idea of heaven I guess.

Sidewalks

They’re crazy.  Where my family lives (and a majority of us in the mid-west), we use our sidewalks sparingly.  In Kenya, a majority of the population walks everywhere, but no sidewalks.

Bridges

There are a lot of bridges in the States.  I never really paid much attention to them unless one was unusual tall or artistic.  Now I am noticing the simple bridges and how amazing and expensive they are.  We have few bridges in Kenya.

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