Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cool, Clear Water

Of all the new things I learned when I came to Jordan, probably the most startling and enduring had to do with water. When we got settled in our small house I learned that water was pumped to the tank on our roof only twice a week. Rationing water was new to me and quite scary since one can hardly live without it! I was as careful as I could be, but one day I turned on a faucet and nothing came out. I couldn’t believe it, and disbelief gave way to panic. My father-in-law came to my rescue. He brought someone to help him dismantle the two inch pipe that went to the tank on the roof. They found gravel inside the pipe which was blocking it. Water flowed again. I mentioned this happening in the next letter to my mother, and she wrote a special thank-you letter to my father-in-law. I think this may have been the only personal letter this stern, hard working, Jordanian man ever received. He didn’t know English so he had my husband read it to him. He smiled broadly as he folded the letter and put it in his pocket. I saw him take that letter out many times and show it to others. In fact, he carried it with him until the paper became limp and the handwriting faded. He was impressed by the thank you letter from America for a simple job that he had considered his duty.

To my knowledge water has always been rationed in Jordan. Doing without occasionally has made me feel helpless just anticipating not having any! In fact, I changed my thinking about water. Open faucets carelessly running while one leisurely washes in the sink make me squirm. Drippy faucets, leaking toilets, and water running down the street because of a broken pipe bother me. I am distracted by the thought of waste while watching the frequent movie scenes of long steamy showers. I am aware of my irritation when someone complains about a rainy day in Jordan! I stopped taking water for granted a long time ago.

ASH

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