Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How to survive without water

Yesterday a man from the Cameroon water company called SNEC (which sounded very like 'snake' when when the guy was announcing his presence from outside the house) came to take our water meter away. The reason for this is that the previous tenant finally got round to telling the water board he had moved (it only took five months). So we have to register with SNEC that we currently live in the property and until then we cannot have any water. This will only take a day or two Genesis told us, if you believe that you will believe anything. So we figured that we will be using the public tap for a few days. Its not far from our house. Luckily we had filled up our solar showers that morning so we can at least try to prevent ourselves from becoming too smelly.

be the same one they took away yesterday. We just have to we get It is usual for the children to fetch the water from the public tap, so off Gabriel went with a collection of bottles to get some water for us all. Meanwhile Genesis sorts out the paperwork required to get a meter. It will not just be any ond meter, it will in fact be the same meter that was there before. All we had to do was prove that we live in the house. To do this we fill in some form, which the landlord also signs to say we are his tenants. Our landlord lives 8 hours away in the North West, so it may take some time. Instead we asked Didimus to sign it as he acts as caretaker. We then have to get this form signed by the Divisional Officer (DO) to prove it is true and correct. Everything in Cameroon needs to be signed by the DO. I am sure he could be doing more imortant things with his time other than signing everybody's forms. I have been to see the DO a few times now and he knows who I am. I got both sets of parents letters of invitation and copies of my parents passports signed. He was very upset to learn my parents-in-law were visiting as he was hoping I was single! Anyway we went up to visit him today. We did not actually have all the paper work required, as we needed the tenancy agreement to prove we are the tenants and the name of our landlord. But as the form was signed by Didimus and not out landlord this would cause trouble. So Genesis decided as the DO knows who I am and 'I have the power' of a white woman we would give it a go. And indeed he signed the form even though he did not have all the paperwork required. Just because I was there - Genesis thinks so.

Genesis then took the form to SNEC but as there was no power for most of the day they could not process it (even Cameroon has become too dependant on computers). So maybe tomorrow......

Fear not however, we do have water at home and its free. So we are in no rush. There is a valve (or whatever it is called) on the supply pipe before where the meter would go. So with the correct tool (which we have) we can turn the supply on and use all the water we want.

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