Could be worse

Did I say something about trading up?  For the past three days our neighborhood has had no electricity. For reasons I will explain in another post, that means we also do not have running water.  This morning we used up the last of the cooking gas, and there is a shortage so I don’t know when we can get more. We are in a sorry condition.

And it’s the rainy season.

This is us.


About lornaofarabia

I am a teacher from Medford, Oregon. I currently live and work in Cairo, Egypt.
This entry was posted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Home life. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Could be worse

  1. Alberto says:

    Thank goodness it’s the rainy season! If it’s anything like Cuba, setting up a clean spot outside for pots & pans should get you inches of water in no time. For more water than you can handle, you could string up a tarp, (they always sag) and poke a hole in the center putting a clean barrel below. One inch of rain on an 8×8 tarp comes to 5.3 c.f., which is 39 gallons, and that should hold you for cooking, washing up, and then some! In Cuba, where we had good reliable plumbing (until ’59 anyway), my sisters still put out pots on the veranda, because it gave them the softest water possible to wash their hair, leaving a lustrous shine.

  2. Tracey says:

    I was also thinking rain barrels. Can you set up a outside grill or fire pit to boil the water – under a tarp if necessary?

    • Alberto Enriquez says:

      Why boil it? Rainwater is potable––it may have caught a bit of dust, but basically, it’s been distilled. Also, one wouldn’t want to risk burning up the tarp..
      If the concer is the containers, they can be cleaned with a bleach solution if available. Another quick way to sterilize water, short of energy-intensive boiling, is to put it all into clear plastic bottles (if you have ’em), and stack on a section of corrugated roofing, with the roofing tilted so the bottles get maximum insolation. UV penetrates clouds––and sterilizes the water in the bottles. 6 hours for a sunny day, two days for cloudy weather. But in cloudy weather you can probably rely on rainwater harvesting, anyway.
      Details here:
      BTW, don’t use glass. Those thin-walled soda bottles let through a lot more UV.
      Good luck–and bottom’s up!

      Purifying questionable water with bleach? Details here: (Remember that bleach only kills pathogens, it doesn’t remove toxic chemicals. Which is why rainwater is so wonderful. It doesn’t have ’em.)

      • Hm, a bit of dust… I think that the air quality here in Addis is quite different from that in Havana. I wouldn’t drink anything that came through this sky without purifying it first. Still, this is a method that is used here. Andreas took the grade 6 class up to the Born Free foundation to look at their water system last year. There they use collected rainwater for all their needs, including drinking water. For human consumption they filter it first. At our school we use the UV method for purifying all our water – the city water is not drinkable without treating (at home we boil it and then filter it).

  3. Alberto Enriquez says:

    LOL! Yes, it was silly of me not to consider that a landlocked city of 3 million, many of them burning wood & other fuels, might have some air quality issues, even in the rainy season! In Havana, we didn’t need to rely on the rainwater for drinking. We had excellent city water, but it was hard, hence the girl’s dull hair if we didn’t gather rainwater. We had one other great advantage though. Our hot water “heater” was essentially a black barrel up on the roof with city water piped in and then piped out to the hot taps. The sun was intense enough to keep that barrel PLENTY hot year round. No electricity or gas needed for a shower!

    Hope you’ve got your systems all in place by the time you read this.

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