Saturday, January 4, 2014

Water - our lifeline

When we first arrived in October it was quite common to have a good drenching with some rainstorms.  When the heavens opened up and the rains came, it was instant flood!   It came down hard and fast, and then nothing.  Then it might do it all over again a few minutes or an hour later.  When the dark clouds roll in, watch out!  The rain storms are quite fun if you don't mind getting wet!  Large storage tanks are everywhere on the island that catch the fresh rain water. The toilets, however, run on a separate system as they are hooked up to the ocean's salt water.  So, if we run out of fresh water, we will still have water for the toilets.
Now, two months later, we are in dire straights as the fresh water is getting low in our storage tanks.  Apparently in the winter, the wind blows a lot stronger, so the clouds don't have as much of  a chance to gather, and they just roll on over the island.  The city does have extra water, but that must be collected individually by small containers or businesses can buy it and have it delivered by truck.  For several days this month we have had no running water, so we conserved and did the best we could with what little water we had for cooking, drinking and washing.  We were getting by on sponge baths, until some of the church members found out.  That night they delivered several large buckets of water to our place.  We finally took a shower that night! What angels!  I will bless them forever (that's just the kind of people they are here, so kind).  The apartments where we live get a certain allocation of water and apparently some of the tenants were using up more than their share so we were running out.  So last week, the owners decided to ration the water to all tenants.  Right now, until whenever, we have running water from 6 to 9 am and from 6 to 9 pm every day! (unless it runs out first!)  This morning we went to take our showers just after 8 am and it was already dry!  Boo!  Time for another bucket shower!  Our days are now planned around our water supply!
flooding right around the corner from us

plowing through the intersection right outside our place

flooding in front of the store

People lining up to fill their containers with water

heading home with his water supply

A couple of the buckets of water that were brought to us!

supply of cold filtered water in the fridge

Bucket and cup I use for my showers when the water is turned off.  I have become quite adept at taking a complete shower with only one bucket of water, equal to about 2 gallons. 
 Our dependence upon water is actually for everything on this island, from fishing, to entertainment (swimming and playing in the waves), to bringing us all our food and goods.  We have no airport here, so anything going in or out must come in by boat.  People, small packages and mail are flown to Kwajalein, and then transferred over on the ferry.  Everything else from cars, furniture, canned goods, produce, building supplies, and you name it, all are brought in by the big freighters.  It's a VERY welcome sight to see a big freighter come in to the dock every two weeks or so.  By the time the ship arrives we are usually in sore need of produce and other items.  Around Christmas time we ran out of eggs for two or three weeks.  It's quite common to run out of produce, eggs or other fresh items long before the next shipment comes.  We always have canned goods on the shelf, but it's so nice to have the fresh stuff!
kids swimming in the lagoon
Small boats for fishing or for trips to the outer islands

Freighter unloading
Freighter bringing all our goods
boats in the lagoon

The ferry that takes us to Kwajalein

 Almost every Saturday since we have been here they have had at least one baptism.  The service usually starts at 6 or 6:30pm where we all walk down to the lagoon where they perform the baptisms.  I don't think they realize how lucky they are to have such a killer setting for their baptism.  I don't think I will ever tire of this beautiful scene.

Amazing setting for a baptism

Baptism in the lagoon
 All uses of water on the island don't necessarily have to be functional.  There are some soothing qualities in watching the waves.  And the ocean is just fun to watch and track as the tides change.  For those of you who know Mike, he has always been mesmerized by the ocean.  He has been known to walk the beach for hours when we have visited the ocean, whether in Oregon or Mexico or New Jersey.   Here it's no different.  Whenever we walk along the ocean side of the road we always have to stop for a few minutes so he can watch the waves.  I don't think he will ever get tired of doing that. 
watching the waves with a couple of boys imitating him

Mike mesmerized by the ocean waves

great view while walking down the road

Beach Park, the cleanest beach on Ebeye, and source of a few shells
And finally, a scenic view for the sunset, on the lagoon side

1 comment:

  1. I'm relieved you guys are doing great. It could be inconvenient for some people, but you guys have adjusted somewhat. You mentioned using filtered water for drinking purposes. I think it's only prudent, given the circumstances. And it wouldn't hurt to be careful. Well, let's see if water service improves. Take care!

    Verna Griffin @ Axeon Water Technologies