I have been thinking about water. It is a basic necessity, something most of us take for granted and never think twice about. When we leave Kampala and enter the Great Shiny West, one of the strangest things at first is the ability to turn on the tap and drink the water. Over there in the land of Evian, Perrier and Badoit people often choose not to the drink the tap water, asking instead for a pricy bottle of imported water. I hear that in some New York establishments there even exists a Water Sommelier. From the ridiculous to the sublime I watch young girls carry heavy water with such grace.
We buy water in large bottles and have a water dispenser in the kitchen, not only for drinking but also for filling kettles, cooking rice and vegetables and occasionally even washing fruit. It is not an extravagance but a necessity and I miss the ease of simply turning a tap. And yet how lucky we are. Each afternoon as we drive home from school the sun catches the brilliant yellow of the Jerry Cans that are carried by young girls. They walk to a pipe that runs along a long hill and take turns to fill and carry their water home for the evening and the next day. This water will suffice for washing themselves, their clothes, the dishes; for cooking and drinking. And it still needs to be boiled once they get it home.
Puts a dripping tap in London into perspective.