|Replacing Havana's failing mains water system|
The next morning the truth was plain to see. The streets were being dug up. The sound of pneumatic drills ricocheted off the buildings. Old and failing cast iron water pipes were being pulled out and replaced by plastic ones. Rather slowly. Half of Old Havana probably was without water.
|A Bicitaxi driver clambers over a 'filled-in' trench|
Hospitals, schools and large hotels had priority. Ordinary residents were at the bottom of the pecking order. This included our 'Casa' (bed and breakfast) whose owner had to beg, plead and pay for water in order to keep running. The tanker would often arrive late at night, honking its horn in what we came to think of as celebratory style although in truth the driver was simply in a hurry to make the delivery and get away. The noise of water being pumped into the house was deafening.
We had several more evenings without water although there was always a bathroom somewhere in the building that had some. Different storage tanks seemed to feed different parts of the building. We never quite worked it out.
The inconvenience we suffered was minor. At the end of three weeks we knew we would come home to a water supply that we never question. How often do we feel true gratitude for water at the turn of a tap?
|The power of dustpan and brush: resilience in the face of chaos|
A few days ago there were elections in Cuba for municipal assemblies. Municipal councillors are responsible for things like water supply and street repairs. There has been much discussion in the media about the two dissidents who stood for election. They were unsuccessful this time but change is in the air. Perhaps it can start with a dustpan and brush.