Water & Entitlement

Another unrelated image. But Mozambican rainstorms make for the best sunsets.

Journal entry: January 24, 2017

When the water actually works properly, I aproveito to the hilt.

Wash the hair! Wash the laundry! Wash everything!

It began as a generic, zona-wide water shortage, which translates to practically non-existent water pressure in our fourth-floor apartment (or no water at all and having to dip into the reserve buckets). Then it escalated to our pump going out right before Christmas. No sooner did the new pump, after much trial and error and return visits from Sergio and Jorge, become fully functional, than the faucet in the tub broke off. So now the water supply to half of the bathroom is shut off to avoid having a mini fountain in our bathtub. Because, as posh as a mini fountain sounds, it isn’t terribly convenient. Fortunately, the mysterious workings of the Mozambican plumbing systems were in our favor this time around, and even though the tub faucet (which may well have been a relic of colonial days) betrayed us, the water supply to the sink and the shower head is separate from the faucet and toilet supply and is still functional (pending water availability, of course).

All of that to say, that I’ve had maybe 4 ‘real’ showers in the past several months. The lowest point was hauling jerry cans full of water up 4 flights of stairs on Christmas Eve. But even that wasn’t terrible. My determination rose to the challenge and I embraced it with the fortitude of my pioneer ancestry.

I remember when water shortages used to ruin my day. Now they are hardly a cause for comment. It’s nice to know that I’m making progress...of a sort. Maybe it’s actually a regress, but if it enables me to live here, I’ll embrace it full-heartedly without too much analysis.

What I do analyse is the way my sense of entitlement has shrunk. Since I no longer expect water and functional plumbing as a right of life, then the occasions on which there’s enough water pressure for the shower head to function properly are times of great rejoicing. Shower preparations take on a certain grandeur, an air of festivity. Those Bible verses about streams in the desert suddenly make so much more sense to me. Water is a cause for celebration.

Thinking about how something so simple - and once taken for granted - as a shower now has the power to make my day extra-special, I find myself wondering what other entitlements should be removed from my life. How much happier would I be did I see more of life as the blessing it is rather than the entitlement I believe is due me?

In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thes. 5:18