Columns

Nuh water nuh deh, but...

Barbara
Gloudon

Friday, May 17, 2019

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IN the past few months Jamaicans, Kingstonians in particular, have been struggling with a serious, serious problem. In many households we turn on our pipes expecting to see water, but to paraphrase an old folk song: nuh water nuh deh!

The water crisis continues to plague us. Year after year, when the dry season comes around, we find ourselves in the same preckeh. Well, here goes — a few tips from the 'Not-so-happy homemaker's guide to living with no water':

DO: Think about all the bills you have to pay, and when you erupt into tears, use said tears to wash your face and clean teeth. Not enough tears? Wait until you see a neigbourhood pipeline broken by roadworks. As you watch all that water running to waste on the roadway, that is bound to get your tear ducts flowing again.

DON'T: Do not forget to close the bathroom door at work in case you need to “hold a fresh”. Inappropriate, some would say. However, some jobs require you to take home your work, so maybe you can bring some homework to the job. The human resources manager may frown upon your personal care routine, but it is better for your co-workers if you can keep down the funk.

DO: Reach for the wipes, perfume, cologne, or air freshener now that the sun has decided to tun-up di heat on us. How come the last few days feel like the middle of August? If you use the air conditioner at home and in the car you will be ready to bawl when the bill comes. (Look back at the first “Do”.)

DO: Make contact with your family in country, especially if they live on the north coast. Officials are telling us that the northern side of island has water in abundance. Invite the cousins to come visit you in town and let them know, no need to bring the hamper with the fruit and vegetables this time. Beg them to carry two drum-pan of water instead.

DON'T: Do not waste the likkle water you've been hoarding. Bright and powerful businessmen sing the praises of trickle-down economics. Now is the time to practise trickle-down showering. Granny used to say in the evenings that she was going to “wash-up”. The problem now is wash-up leads to too much splashing. Stretch that cup of water by working from top… to bottom.

DO: Seize an opportunity. For those who like to party, here's a chance for a new and exciting concept. Host a dirty laundry party at the townhouse pool. Eat, dance, drink, and “scruups-scruups” the afternoon away. Remember to keep your delicates out of the jacuzzi; they don't do well in the hot water.

DO: Label or organise your bottles of liquid. A friend of mine once had a very exciting breakfast when she grabbed the wrong bottle in the kitchen. Based on her telling of the story, I don't think the fancy mixologists/bartenders are ready to serve up a new morning cocktail. Liquor and oats porridge were not a good combination!

DO: Be creative. Dust on your car may seem unsightly. Writing “please wash me” is so out of style. Get with it, man! Draw or write something interesting that will catch a taxi driver's eye, and then perhaps they may stay in line behind you, instead of trying to run you off the road.

Are you finding any of these tips helpful? Truth be told, when you have no water at all it's hard to see the lighter side. I'm not making fun of misfortune, but sometimes wi haffi tek bad sinting mek laugh. Seriously, though, we do have to change our habits. We must be mindful of how we use the resources around us. Our officials have suggested and proposed ways in which our water woes will be eased. Most of the plans are long-term, including laying pipes, replacing mains, and installing pumping stations — all very necessary as our cities and towns continue to expand. In the meantime, while we wait for those plans to materialise, we the citizens can make water conservation an all-year-round habit.

Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright and commentator. Send comments to the Observer or gloudonb@gmail.com.


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