Desperate times call for desperate measures. We just survived 60 hours without running water and 24 hours without power. The play by play (not for those squeamish regarding bodily functions):
I woke up in the morning to find that we did not have running water. This is a pretty common occurrence here and many of the houses, including the Hutchinsons', are outfitted with an extra water tank for this very purpose. In addition, Bill and Elizabeth keep 3 extra jugs of filtered water for drinking. Bill has a saying regarding our natural tendencies: "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down." I thought it was a bit odd for us not to have water during the day as our previous dry-outs had just been at night, but I figured this was par for the course and NBD.
Elizabeth and I return from Ndirande to find that we are still without water. The Hutchinsons were hosting bible study that evening so some of the tank water was used to wash the dishes from the previous night and for cooking. I learned a lot from their friends about water conservation, which totally puts repurposing in a whole new light. Bathwater, for example, can be reused to flush toilets and for watering the garden and some homes have the pipes wired to do this automatically! Wow! We ended the night still without water and the adults decided to forego their showers.
Still dry the next morning, and we also were without power. I was thankful that it had cooled down in Blantyre the past couple days so I didn't feel as icky without a shower, and I knew that a baby wipe wipe-down was always a possibility. There were rumors that the water company was fixing their pipes so it was unclear how long water would be out for. Bill lamented at breakfast that he had forgotten to save the boys' bathwater the night prior. Despite the code yellow-brown state of our toilets zen prevailed and we all remained calm.
We went out to dinner at Jungle Pizza given our lack of power and inability to cook anything in the house. While at ShopRite, we searched for 5 liter jugs of water but they were all sold out. We bought some buckets, and Bill called his neighbors with a swimming pool to ask if we could fill them in order to flush the toilets. He also made the executive decision that the men of the house would perform #1 outside. We were approaching a dire code brown. That night Bill and the boys ate melting ice cream from the container (there were no clean dishes or cups) and read Lord of the Rings by candlelight.
I started my night call at Ndirande. I had taken to waiting until clinic to empty my system (I will refrain from further details), only to find that we were also out of running water in clinic. That night, I learned the art of flushing your own toilet with bucket water, that babies can be delivered just fine, and that washing your hands with D5W makes them sticky but is better than nothing at all.
I survived my night call. However, just turning my head gave me a whiff of my hair - foul. I hoped beyond hope that when Bill picked me up he would say we had water and - HE DID!!! I have never been so grateful. Next time I use a public bathroom in the States that someone forgets to flush beforehand (a previous pet peeve), I will just smile and be ever thankful for the privilege of running water.
Unfortunately, as I write this we are going on another 20 hours without running water. It's mellow yellow time again...
-Kannie Chim, SFH R3