Water in Kreole is Dlo. This is one of the only words that I learned while there. We take clean water for granted. When I turn the faucet on water is going to come out, not doubt in my mind. Not only that, the water will be clean and I will be able to drink it. The reason this word stands out to me the most from our trip is because the kids begged for it. When we would go out to the work site we would take our own water. I had a 2 liter camel pack and a water bottle full of water. We also had these little bags of water in a cooler.
After a few hours the water we brought would be hot and everyone wanted the little bags that were in the cooler. The kids would all come up and say dlo dlo dlo. How do you turn down a hot sweaty kid begging for water? Needless to say we ran out of water a few days on the job. We returned back to the mission praying that the ice machine was working. The mission had a huge water tank and all the water was filtered and safe to drink. Safe to drink and good tasting water do not go hand-in-hand. The first day they brought ice out we were all fighting over it. You can only drink warm water for so long. We were covered in dirt and sweat from head to toe and made a beeline for the ice machine. “Any ice?” and the reply was “No Water!”
No water? I guess that means no ice….. Wait, that also means no shower. No shower? Luckily they had filled a large barrel with water before they ran out. You could dip the bucket in the barrel and take a bucket shower. We were already on strict rules to take a military shower. You know, turn water on to get wet, turn water off, soap up, turn water back on to rinse off. And of course if its yellow let it mellow…..
The water came back on for a little while and you had to get in line to take a shower. I went back in to brush my teeth and heard yelling from one of the younger members on our trip. “My eyes, my eyes, they are burning. I’ve got soap in my eyes. The water is out” I’m sorry, but my first instinct was to start laughing. I yelled and told him that there was some water in the bucket that was right outside the shower curtain. His response was that he had no clothes on. I looked for a bucket but I think all of them were being used. I finally found a small dixie cup for him to use.
The water was pretty intermittent during our whole trip. Most of the town that we were in had no running water in their homes either. There were stations around the city that had water inside that you could get and take it back home. I have no clue who ran these or if they were free. I also saw places selling water. I saw a lady walking down the road with a full water jug on her head. I estimated it to be around 40lbs. One of the most disheartening things I saw was someone carrying water in a large tank that was labeled sulfuric acid. I’m sure it was clean, but just the thought of drinking water from it.
My point is we take for granted that when we turn the handle clean water is going to come out, but so many other places this is not so. We don’t have to dig holes in the mud to try and get water, no matter how dirty it is.