Washing My Dirty Socks in Public          - 17/ 7/ 2005      <--Prev : Next-->


Sadly the imposition of water rationing has descended upon us yet again in Bulawayo.

But then I suppose we should be grateful that we have any water at all.

Many people in Zimbabwe have to carry their daily bucketful on their heads for miles, however it is what one is accustomed too that is meaningful.

Fuel rationing is ghastly, bread rationing is dreadful, going without sugar has never bothered me personally but water rationing is indeed an imposition !!

Especially when the City fathers have been talking endlessly about augmenting our water supplies for the city since the year 1906 !!

We housewives are a resilient bunch, we have had to put up with much worse things in our beloved country, what could be worse than death or having your home bulldozed down around your ears, absolutety no comparison I know but water rationing, when it could have been avoided, sucks !!

So back we go to recycling the bath-water, first you use it for the more than ample bod, transfer it to the laundry, the pour it down the loo !!

Back to those mazoe bottles filled with sand, placed in the toilet cistern. We have those old fashioned cisterns, (the house was after all built in 1952), which hold practically all of our entire daily ration of 600 litres !!)

Back to "save water, bath with a friend". Its fun in summer but pretty ornery in winter. My two slender daughters and I have often bathed together. (I can imagine my less devoted friends here rolling around in mirth at the thought of this) but an article I once read written by a psychologist, said that if you bath with your adolescent offspring, all defences are let down and your child will open up and confess all !! (Bare all I suppose would be a more suitable terminology)

Unfortunately these days something adipose and unfriendly seems to have happened, and the family bath is no longer large enough !!

But I digress, back to water rationing. Probably the factor that has contributed most to us living happily ever after in Bulawayo, has been our love of our wildlife, our wide open spaces and our gardens plus our privacy behind our own precious four walls.

Now the powers that be are taking away our gardens and forcing themselves behind our four walls to look at our unlawful erections !!

As I cart buckets of bath water from the bath to the loo, my mind wanders back to 1993 when Bulawayo was yet again in the throes of water rationing. The City Fathers were civic minded in those days and introduced a programme hosted by yours truly, called "Bulawayo Must Live !" A far cry from the Operation Murambatsvina where one wonders what the city fathers are thinking !!

A weekly slot on prime time TV was aired, where the dam levels were viewed, public conscientising was undertaken, tips on water conservation were explained and the drastic steps that needed to be taken were elaborated upon.

Many happy hours were spent wandering around Bulawayo's supply dams with my old cronies from ZBCTV - my late dear friend Rueben, and all the wonderful folk who all worked for ZBC for many years - Livingstone, Marcus, Sol, Oscar, Patrick and Amon.

Bulawayo did live of course, thanks to ample rains the next year, and then there was the usual flurry of activity to bring water from the Zambesi, build the Gwayi Shangani Dam, pipe water from Mtshabezi Dam, but, guess what, nothing happened !!! And here we are again...... washing our dirty socks in our equally dirty bath-water !!

My Blessed Mum always used to quote "I cried because I had no shoes.... and then I saw one who had no feet" and so really these silly little trials of ours all pale into insignificance.

I will put my bucket down now and go back to that article on the news where I was reading about the thousands of folk displaced by Operation Murambatsvina.

In one refugee shelter alone UNICEF has brought in 35 portable toilets for over 5000 people (and rising)

35 000 litres of water is being delivered daily to this camp - that works out at 7 litres per person per day, and suddenly I can only shut up thank God for my 600 litres a day !!