Saturday, 3 August 2013

Cool water?

When it’s hot weather in the UK, we think nothing of taking a glass, turning on the cold tap and pouring ourselves a nice drink of cool water. 

Here in Chad there’s a slightly longer process we have to go through before we can pour ourselves a glass of cool water!   In the hottest weather we drink on average about 4-5 litres of water a day.  Mainly just plain water but we can get a sugary powder in a myriad of artificial flavours, which we can add to the water if we want to.  There are other ideas too for flavouring water, such as adding a peppermint or lemon teabag to a jug of water and letting it soak overnight.  When you’re drinking so much cold water you need a bit of variation!

This blog outlines the process us expats go through on a daily basis in order to ensure a constant supply of cool water is available:

1.  Fill bowl with tap water

2.  Pour tap water into water filter

3.   Once water has filtered through to the bottom chamber (a very slow process), fill bottle or jug with the filtered water
 4.   Place bottle of water in fridge and leave for a couple of hours to cool

Once all that is done, there is a supply of cool water in the fridge!
Just for a bit more background, I thought I’d explain where the tap water comes from.  There’s no piped water provided by a national company here.  The tap water in our houses and also for use at the hospital is pumped from an underground source, using a generator, into a water tower on site.  It takes about 30 minutes for the generator to pump enough water to fill the tower.  Below is a picture of yours truly posing by the water tower!

The water in the tower doesn’t last the compound very long and so water is pumped into it about 3 or 4 times a day.  We often turn on a tap and find no water and then go and find a guard to put the generator on.
Sometimes the generator is out of action, although thankfully this hasn’t happened yet since I’ve been here!  Alongside the generator-driven water pump, there is also a hand water pump that can be used.  This sources water from underground, there’s natural water not far below the surface.  So if the generator is out of action, we use the hand pump to pump water into buckets, bowls (anything really!), to be used in the houses or on the hospital wards.  Below is a photo of me at the hand pump!

So there we have it, a brief description of water here!

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