No Water Natitingou Benin Natitingou Benin West Africa Monday, September 25, 2006
It is 3:38 in the morning, aagh, I hoped it was later. The morning Islamic prayer was just noisily heard by me. I would make a good Muslim, I wake up early, do not drink, smoke, and can obey rules. I do not think loudspeaker systems though are a blessing; noise pollution is out of control. I will pray for noise to subside on the planet.
I have a common shower and toilet here in the Auberge Centrale in Natitingou Benin, I am curious to know why there is no water. I have been trying to study the water of West Africa, it is not easy, I can only observe and not ask questions. My French is not good, and the people that can answer my questions normally speak horrible French, not that they need to speak French, they speak Fon I believe. There is maybe a new local language emerging, however I am still sussing out Fon here.
Less than 50 steps from the entrance, or my room, are two water collection areas. I believe the normal homes here carry water from these water points to their homes.
Each one of these points has: 1. Water Meter 2. Handle 3. Box with a lock on it, maybe a way to turn off.
This is my first observance on the planet for a top loading water system, I mean; the people stand under the water and load their pan. It saves them having to heave it up into the air, and put on their head. I do not know what the other gentlemen will do, he has a lot of old juice or something plastic cans, it would be bad if he has to hold up in the air and then put down into his goods cart.
These stories never end, no stopping point, to figure out the whole system could take weeks. It would make sense that I could ask a person to translate, and learn quickly, however this is not true. There is always a save face, cover the tracks, not explain, or make up information problem. I do not trust a person to explain correctly something they really have never thought of or considered. The water comes from the hose…
I do hope they do not need to pay for the water that would be an outrage. I think in Niger, they had to pay for each container, nothing worse on the planet than being poor and having to pay for the water, you need to live. I think sometimes a city is a place of torture, outside the city life would be easier.
This is a water meter, which is next to the water point above. I enjoy seeing water meters, I do no like that people have to pay for water, and however it is part of an overall system. (The noisy prayers started again.)
1. A person needs water. 2. The government drives a deep well.
3. The water is pumped to the Chateau. This word is a mystery to me; I have asked many persons, the name for these tanks, I am not positive it is water, however, 95 percent sure. I have asked many persons, they call it a chateau. Either the word mean castle, there is another meaning or I am spelling the word wrong in French.
Château: masculine castle; figuratively château de cartes house of cards; figuratively châteaux plural en Espagne castles in the air (2)
I will now need to have some smarter person write the word, this never ends. I have now taken maybe seven photos in seven separate villages of these large tanks or a reservoir for what I assume is water.
4. The commune or community here need money for the project, therefore they put a meter on the line to pay for the water tank, and the maintenance.
5. A business pays, a home with money pays, then maybe the people with no pipe running to their home pay by the canister or bottle.
6. Good water is available, it there is money or if they provide for free.
The system is there, there is a from the beginning to end the complete how to get water to the people system. PROBLEM How to get money to the people to have money to buy water.
I have no water in my room, what happened during the night, did the tank go empty, and is there a reason to turn off the pump? The hotels can be amazingly lazy, they will not run the water only one time a day and let it run out, and then when they get good and ready they will turn the pump on and run to tanks on roof. I do not think there are tanks on the roof of the hotel. I think we only have city water. This would mean the city is too lazy to keep or maintain the water supply. It may mean also that they do not want people to steal water during the night, so the city shuts off the whole city so nobody can load during the off hours of no collection of money.
On and on the ball rolls, where it ends, nobody knows, I am always amazed at the world, it is a cluster or calamity, nothing leads to anywhere and the thread I am pulling on ends up with some person who is only being selfish, controlling or silly on the other end of the string.