a q u a

[ 21:13 sunday 29 october – jisonayili , northern ghana ]

the water supply ceased around two o’clock yesterday afternoon . the electricity failed shortly afterwards , but returned within a couple of hours . not so the water .

this puts a different perspective on the experience of living here . without a shower to wash the omnipresent dust and sweat from one’s body , without a flushing loo , one’s lifestyle moves a step closer to that of the majority . but even the stand-pipes on which most people rely for their water are now dry .

afu hamidu has been kind to share his stock of water , sending over bowls of it with his daughters , but if the situation persists i shall presumably have to turn to the nearby river , to which i see already convoys of people walking with containers upon their heads . having observed the river at close quarters this is not a prospect i particularly relish .

i asked iso what was the longest period such interruptions had lasted in the past . the discouraging reply came : a month .

there is a rumour that the water will flow once more tomorrow evening . i pray it proves correct .

meanwhile there has been a conspicuous increase in the insect activity . the house has mesh screens on all its windows but one night last week it was breached by a veritable plague of little black beetles . the next morning their corpses lay on every inch of floor and table . the ants were busy carrying them away for food as i had my breakfast . the next invaders were big black roachy things , an inch or two long , which spring a couple of feet into the air aided by peculiarly ineffective wings . i have no idea how they are getting in but they are succeeding in considerable numbers . as i write i occasionally hear the tap of another landing on the lino .

it is explained to me that as the weeks pass since the rainy season’s end and the bush dries out , insects are drawn towards the houses where moisture can still be found . so perhaps our unexpected drought will have one positive consequence at least .

[ 23:18 ]

i’ve swept the insect corpses out of my bedroom and bathed myself standing in a bucket with three saucepans of water .

news from distant worlds reaches me . from mum i learn that mr good’s partridges have been stolen (which she is very happy about !) . from my friend james fink in melbourne i learn that his mother has won an opal mine in a competition .

[ 13:25 monday 30 october , rains office , tamale , northern ghana ]

the water spluttered back into life at ten this morning , albeit rank and brownish . we rejoice .

: cH

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