Saturday, February 20, 2010


Have you ever considered your "workhorses"? What do you rely on daily?

Daily I rely on my Berkey water filter. It gets filled at least once but often two or three times per day. While I have the far less expensive Sawyer filter as a back up, the Berkey looks very good on the counter top.

The Berkey is handy to be sure. But without water to the tap, it'd be a slog to fetch water. While most Mission compounds I have been to have water, I am not sure all have it pumped to the house. In Buea, water is not distributed to most homes. Rather community pumps serve most people. Water to the tap (and a 2000 liter storage container) have given us continuous water access since we arrived. That also means showers. (For reasons still unclear to me water pressure wanes after 8 pm.) Water to the tap also means flush rather than pit toilets!

Showers remind me that I also have hot showers. In our new bathroom hot water is within a couple of minutes and in the other bathroom, you need to remember a couple of hours ahead to turn on the hot water heater.

Hot showers remind me that electricity is used throughout the day. Electricity is to more homes than water. Both water and electricity do "fail". In the dry season water can be "off" a day at a time. Where as power outages during the dry season seem to last between 30 minutes to an hour. But during rains, the power can be off hours at a time.

Electricity reminds me that my laptop is used daily. I am working on forms, brochures, emails, photographs, facebook; igoogle, etc.

Which brings me to the internet. As slow and as expensive as it is we use it daily. We really noticed it the other weekend when lightning fried our MODEM. (The MODEM has been replaced and Camtel installed a line surge protector). Also with electricity we have a frigid refrigerator. But when the power goes off for hours at a time, it doesn't seem to hold the cold as well as I'd hope for. No electricity - lights, no hot water, no internet, and a warming fridge.

The stove operates without electricity, but you do have to remember to purchase new bottles gas every now and then. We use it daily.

Many of these things, if not all, provide similar comforts to how we lived in the USA. Life would be different without them. Though not impossible. After all that is what people used to do many years ago (all over the world I might add).