20 . Letter from ... Harare
A Harare resident writes in Crikey 2.2.09:
I was standing in my bucket washing my body when the phone rang. I had to get out and fling a towel over my soapy body to go and answer it. It could be critical, as phones so seldom work. It was a friend who had been desperate to contact for four days.
After washing, the bucket water has to be lifted into the cistern for flushing the loo. Diarrhoea is a problem as we don't have enough water to keep the loos flushed. Then one becomes so exhausted that there is no strength for carrying and lifting water.
This morning I have carried six buckets of water from the tank outside the kitchen into the bathroom. The physical exertion is exhausting. Dish washing water and body washing water have to be heated on the stove and then carried to whereever they are needed. One litre of water in a plastic basin has to do for face washing and hand washing throughout the day, then it is carried outside to water plants.
The public do not receive statements for water, rates, electricity or telephone anymore. Each person has to go physically into town to their respective offices to find out what they have to pay. Imagine the enormous expense of travel, the waste of a full day queueing away from work and the frustration of dealing with arrogant, incompetent officials who imagine themselves as Gods.
It is ridiculous! The public are terrified to miss payment dates or amounts as they then get cut off permanently or are heavily fined, beyond their ability to pay.
I won't bore you further with the travails of life here. Tomorrow I am going to a friend to do my washing in her machine, which does not spin, so I will have to bring soaking washing back home to dry.
However, she has water and power, so that is a boon.
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