Marigot (Wednesday, 2010 September 22)

September 24, 2010

As previously discussed, water is kind of a thing here. I feel like if I were to write a memoir, I could do worse for a title than "How to clean things using only dirty water". Speaking of which: To get water to wash myself with, I do the following.

Back door Trail

First, go out the front door of my house, cross the thirty feet to the back door of the compound, exit the compound, and follow the trail.

Slight decline Long view

The trail goes downhill.

About halfway down, really

The hill is pretty steep, the path is covered in moss and pretty slippery. I don’t think I’ve ever completely fallen, but I usually come close. I often get off the path and walk in the field, which is potentially being cultivated, and which makes me feel guilty, but unless someone wants to dig some footholds in the path I’m not really inclined to do anything about it. [In the month that I’ve been here, someone has indeed cut footholds into the hillside. It’s still pretty hard to keep your balance.]

Attention: ça glisse. ("Careful: it’s slippery.")

The fields I tend to tramp through.

The path bends a bit.

In the lower left: those are "steps", made of roots and rocks.

This is where it gets really overgrown. Also: the sound of buzzing insects reminding you that you are the guest here.

But this is the bottom of the hill, sorta, and there’s a marigot ("stream", or see Wiktionary: marigot). The water table is just above the ground here, so you have to step over/through mud.


Some vain attempts at coping:

Sticks? Branches?

The pure mountain stream itself:

And there’s a pipe that helps distinguishes the muddy water into a stream.

The stream is often covered in what looks like soapy foam, some kind of oil film, or other bizarre substances. The other day it was a gold-and-silver coating on the water in the mud.


Remember, I don’t drink from this stream (good lord, no) — only wash myself with it, and I bleach the water first.

There’s a little plastic dipper there too, and you can use it to collect water. I rinse the bucket first, which is kind of a wasted gesture because it’s a mountain stream, the water contains dirt.

The dipper Pouring the water Filling the dipper

Then it’s all the way back..

Long view Across the mud And up the hill

Back to the house, so we can depose the fruits of our labor:

Other volunteers have mistaken this "clean" water for water that I have already washed things in.

So that’s where I get my water to wash things. I also do laundry with this water. These days I have a giant "basin" that can hold two or three bucketfuls of dirty stream water, so I don’t have to make this trip as often. And there’s always the option to send kids. I’ve been told I really need to buy a fût, a barrel, made of metal or plastic, so I can keep water around for longer. Then you just pay some kids 500 CFA or so and they’ll fill the whole thing up! Sweet deal, but I feel like furniture is a bigger priority just yet. A table would be really nice..

Comments are closed.