Despite waking up at 6:30, I didn’t get out of bed until 10 this morning. I was in the nebulous space between exhaustion and sickness. I blamed my lethargy on the flu shot I was forced to take but it could just as easily have been dehydration – I only had one liter of water yesterday.

I lay in my bug tent, moving one leg in and out of my sheet as I was hot then cold then hot all over again, and I listened to that same chicken rasp my name periodically. I needed to wash but I couldn’t drag myself from my bed.

Me needing to wash here has different implications than back in the States. The sheer degree of dirtiness for one thing, orange dust films everything and sweat from walking and sitting and just being alive, is not a sweet musk no matter what anyone says. I also have fewer clothes here. And, washing requires me to soak my clothes the night before. That means there is no turning back. No decision, in dire straits, that a shirt can manage one more wearing.

There is also the reality of water. Water, that mostly clear substance that rules my world. We’d been without water for about two days and since I heard my roommate in the shower this morning I knew that we had at least started the day with it. And water is a necessity for washing – vast amounts of water (at least three buckets for every bucket of dirty clothes).

Finally creeping from my bed, shaky and not quite myself, my mind immediately wandered to food and water. I gulped from my water bottle and pulled a can of generic ravioli from my shelf. Of course no electricity until 6pm means I popped the metal lid and armed myself with a fork before plopping down to eat my cold breakfast of champions (complete with roughly 500 calories and my full day’s allowance of salt).

Feeling a little better, a moved to the back porch to tackle the mass of clothing soaking in Omo (the best washing powder ever!). breakfast, a liter of water, and three loads later- clothes hang from the line and drip the occasional drop of water to the tile floor. I was still tired. I am still tired.  But it is only 3pm, the rest of the day stretches out before me.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply