Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Water, water everywhere?

One of the things I was most surprised by in Malawi was the water system. Every time I’ve traveled to a developing country I’ve taken great pains (with mixed success- right Tanya and Mike?) to avoid
drinking the water or eating anything even washed with water. Here I can fill up my water bottle without worrying that I’ll deplete the stock of Pedialite that I brought. It feels incredibly luxurious to not be constantly worrying about what I drink. Apparently Carlsberg beer, which has quite a few factories here, helps to chlorinate and cleanse the water system in Blantyre and Lilongwe. This is even more impressive given that in the villages the water is fully tainted with Giardia, Chlorea and other fun stuff.

The downside to all of this is that when there is not enough clean water, they just simply don’t pump anything. That means that we might get back from a particularly sticky day at the field and have no water. Usually it will start flowing within 24 hours but until then you have to suffer in your filth or splash scalding water on yourself from the hot water tank. Today is one of those days. Thus, I write to you in a state of less-than-cleanliness. Let's just say that I would not be welcome in most respectable eating establishments at the moment. Luckily I have Purell and a mound of mangoes to keep me company.

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