Sunday, May 17, 2009

A little bit of life here in rural Samoa

Utilities here are interesting to say the least. My electricity goes out at least once a week, but usually only for a couple of hours each time. Usually it is out only during the daytime so it isn’t much of a big deal. Although, there have been nights when I’ve been eating dinner and watching a movie on my computer and all the sudden it gets very dark and the only light anywhere is the glow of my computer screen operating off batteries. I have had multiple candlelight dinners here, except I was all by myself so something is lost in the romanticism of the candlelight dinner. Oh well. Electricity going out multiple times a week is just something you get used to as being a part of Samoa. I was lucky last week though…power 24/7, hey hey hey things are looking up.

Usually I have running water 24/7. I am lucky in this regard because when the electricity goes out, most people who have water via electric pumps have no water. My village gets its water from a spring in one of the neighboring villages, so we usually have no issues. Even if on a village system you can have problems. If another village controls the pump, they can shut off the pump whenever they feel like it. We, however, are fortunate to be supplied with running water a majority of the time. That being said, the water usually comes out slightly brown or with random bits of plant life exiting with the clean water. The pipe infrastructure isn’t really good. Thin PVC pipes run for miles and miles usually cracked and if repaired, done so in a fashion which isn’t really fixed in the long term, but for the short term it is “manaia” and will do for about a day. So as time goes on and after miles of cracked pipes with water spraying out everywhere, dirt and grime tend to get into the water. It is good I have a water filter. Many times I fill up the top bucket and can’t even see down to the bottom there is so much dirt in the water. This is why I say my laundry isn’t really ever clean but I pretend it is. Again, you just get used to all this and chalk it up as life as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

A few days ago the water went out, pe le paipa. Since this doesn’t happen often here, I was a bit concerned. I didn’t know why the water went out and when I asked people, they had no idea either. Well I didn’t know the water was out until it was almost dark and I wanted to take a shower. If I had known I had no water I would have gone down to the river in an ie and bathed with everyone else. Being that it was getting dark, this wasn’t going to happen. One house in the entire village still had water and lucky for me it was a neighbor. Since the water is from a spring it is gravity fed, meaning it flows down via the wonderful force of gravity, this house was lucky and so was I. I filled up a bucket with water, brought it back to my house, and took a bucket bath. I got pretty used to these in Amaile, the training village. Their water was off all the time it seemed and bucket baths were the norm. Here in Salesatele though, I don’t take bucket baths usually. Granted at times the water barely trickles from the tap and it would actually be quicker and easier for me to use the bucket, but the running water is such a novelty I have to indulge myself. The water issue is still not fixed and throughout the day the water goes on and off, seemingly with out cause, so I keep a bucket filled with water on standby just in case it is off when I want to shower. People say “ita le vai” or “the water is angry.” I still don’t know why the water is acting funny, and neither does anyone else for that matter. Oh well. That isn’t so bad I guess, but now my water filter doesn’t really work either so life has been really interesting. Hopefully, when I go to Apia later on this week I can see if I can solve the water filter issue. The pipe issue is kinda out of my hands and I’ll just have to ride it out.

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