16 November 2012

Zimbabwe: My Dry Tap Frustrates Me


It is a Monday morning, my Grade 2 son needs to bath before going to school, but my tap has been dry for five days. I grab my car keys and drive off to a friend's house 5 kilometres away from my residence.

Luckily this time the queue at the borehole is not very long.

I think back on how it used to be, when life in the city meant a life free from the burden of rural challenges, where people expect to walk for miles to fetch water. Now I ask myself what is the difference between me, a Highlands Harare rate paying resident and my mother who lives in the rural areas and who also depends on borehole water?

Because I am a close friend of the borehole owner I am given the chance to skip the queue to fetch water.

To avoid the drama of having to run around for water, I have now made it a habit to carry with me water containers in my car to work and I fill them on my way home. Usually this prevents me from having to wake up early and look for the precious liquid, usually from my friend.

Yet, I receive water bills every month from the authorities demanding huge sums of money despite spending most days without water. I have never seen the municipal worker whose job it is to take water metre readings at my house, but I continue receiving water bills, all based on their unfounded predictions.

I am ashamed to say that when I see my children visiting the toilet and using the rationed water I have carried, I get angry. It pains me to tell them that they should not waste water, not because we are water conservers but because of its scarcity.

UNICEF is busy encouraging people to wash their hands every time they visit the toilet. But what goes through my head when I hear this is that washing hands together with my family after using toilet is a waste of the precious liquid.

How then can I together with my family be protected from water borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera?

I lay the blame entirely on my government which is failing to provide my right to health and sanitation.

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