Monday, January 23, 2012

Have I ever told you that I LOVE to shower! I love it, sooo much. I have very fond memories of falling asleep in a Hot shower at 6:30 in the morning in the middle of winter as I was supposed to be getting ready for school. Also while I was in the slower I would have my clothes sitting over the furnace to warm them up and if I had thought ahead I would have ran and quickly (without my mom seeing :-P ) turn the thermostat up so that they would be extra warm.
Then when I went to live in a warmer climate in Oklahoma, I still loved showers, I would marvel at my roommate who could have the shortest humanly possible shower time in the world, I promise 2 min flat her hair/body could be washed and even legs shaved! I just could neverr do it, I love standing under that shower too much.

So now that you realize how much I love to shower you probably cringe to think about the amount of water that I have wasted just standing or sleeping underneath it. I have no idea about how much that would be, but its alot.

Our water filter

This is something that I have known for a long time, so before I came to Africa I thought to myself, maybe living in Africa will teach me how to better manage my water usage. But the idea sort of slipped my mind over the past couple months as we have had awesome water coming to our house, and also that we live about 2 km away from the second largest river in the world, we should never be out of water... Right? Well I'm the newbie, you can forgive me for my ignorant thoughts.

About a week ago I vaguely heard from our landlord we were low on water, but there was really nothing said to conserve water or anything like that, so I go on like my normal self, continue to take my Jocelyn length showers and I'm as happy as can be, until IT happens, the thing that I had no worry about happening... We ran out of water... and I am terribly unprepared, very very unprepared.

I had been doing a little bit of cleaning before it happened, and we usually have this bucket in the shower that if the power is out (Because we are on the second story we don't have gravity water pressure so if the power goes out then we don't have water coming through the pipes but our land lords usually turn the generator enough so we can fill up our filter) then we can flush the toilet. However since the bucket sits in the shower it gets soap it in and other dust stuff, so I had just dumped it out to clean it out.

We have a cooler of water in our room and also our water filter in the kitchen, I sometimes leave the filling of the filter to Nick since it gets heavy when it is full of water and if I don't want to sit there and transfer water from a pitcher. So the water filter was pretty much empty and our cooler in our room was also almost empty cause I usually fill up water to drink at night from there...

Everyone that was at the soccer game!
Now we probably could have dealt with this quite well other then the next day, while we still had no water, we had planned a soccer game. It was our outreach event with the youth group. So we were playing a Congolese youth group and we were supposed to provide the water. MAF owns a house here in the Congo and because of water distribution issues we dug a well at the property that we own, which is super awesome but also not super cheap because of where we are, they had to dug very deep to strike that liquid gold. But they did it and off Nick went on a adventure to get water, it took about 2 hours to transfer everything over, then once we finally had water we have to filter it, which take about 1-2 hours for 10 liters to filter through...  We were able to fill up our one cooler and the Congolese group was only supposed to bring like 20 people so it will be alright. But then we get the school where we are playing and they had brought about 60 people and we had about 25 youth so that is 85 people that I have to provide water for... Now I will also mention that it was about 35 degrees and we were playing on a field in direct sunlight; I may have freaked out a little bit.

I went running around to all the houses around TASOK to ask anyone that I knew if they had filtered water to be able to help us out so I didn't have people passing out on the soccer field. I took me about a hour and a half to finally find about 10 gallons of filtered water to give to everyone. Wow, I never thought that would have been such a issue, if I was a home I would have grabbed a hose and told them just to drink from there... but that is not exactly possible here. Did you know that "In the DRC, the state water utility does not have the ability to improve its water pumping system, because they lack the funds to undertake the project. Instead, they continue to pump water to needy areas through rusty, decaying pipes." Ref link So I can not exactly just hand over the hose.

5 gallons of water
Water... What do we think about water... I knew that there were water issues in the world, but you know it never really impacted me before. It never had a impact on me before...

Did you know that out of 16 peer countries of most water consumption Canada is 15... Just right behind the US. Canada has a tenth of the population of the US and we are just right behind them on water consumption. Ref link I am ashamed. I know for a fact that my Jocelyn length showers don't out a huge dent in that but it is just down right irresponsible. Yeah we still have lots of water, and we use it for lots of different types of industry and agriculture but is there not a way to conserve just a bit?

Did you know that "The UN suggests that each person needs 20-50 litres of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking and cleaning." Ref link So if we look at the min of that... that 20 litres, 5 gallons. Can you do everything that you need to do with 5 gallons of water? oh Jocelyn... do you love your showers that much to dump all 5 gallons over yourself when you need to cook and drink as well... or will you save it after you clean yourself and drink it after... wow... could I do that... Can I imagine that... 

Did you know that "93% of the urbanization occurs in poor or developing countries, and nearly 40% of the world's urban expansion is growing slums." Ref link That means people are moving to places like Kinshasa with their decaying pipes, away from fresh water sources maybe in the middle of nowhere, so maybe get a job in a city of 10 million people, and they can not afford filters... 

Back up drinking water
We need water, when we were without I realized that you can't use the toilet, brush your teeth, do your dishes, wash yourself, drink anything and cook most things...

Sometimes the bible comes alive to me, like in John when Jesus says that he is the living water. Now that we realize just how much we need water, it is in us and without it we could not exist. Jesus says he is the living water, without him we would not be here and with out him we can not continue to be. I think to understand the true significance of Jesus saying that he is the Living water can only really come from a true understanding of just how much we need water, good, clean living water.  

john 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
 17 “I have no husband,” she replied.
   Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
   21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

He is He! The hope! The source of our living water. 


  1. just a great great post!!! I too have been ashamed of how much water I use for showers... this is a great reminder, and I loved the reference to Jesus as the Living Water...

  2. Love it Jocelyn! You hit the nail on the head! After being in Congo for three years, our family of 5 has learned to survive on 10 liters of drinking water a day and 100 liters of water for washing dishes, bodies, and cooking. Sometimes, like right now we don't even have that! But we have learned that Jesus who is our source always provides for us. As you mentioned one would think since the capital city is so close to the second largest river, water would not be an issue. The infrastructure that supplies the cities water supply is sadly in disrepair but the saddest thing is that it is not given a priority in funding. Every time we drive past the Echangeur Tower by the airport road 'Blvd Lumumba' on our way to and from church, I internally shake my head in disgust and pray for righteousness in this land to prevail. The current administration is spending millions of dollars renovating this useless tower to give the appearance of development in this land. This tower will be equipped with lighted fountains and gardens. A monument to the '5 chantiers' but to me it signifies a monument of gaspiage, waste! Will the people be allowed to fetch water for their homes at these public fountains? A similar project was completed on 'Blvd Triumphal' with an even higher price tag public fountains, light display, and potted gardens were lavishly erected. I am all for bettering the esthetics of this beautiful city, Kinshasa. But let us get our priorities straight since our funds are 'limited'. Shouldn't the basic infrastructure of WATER, electricity, and transportation be given a higher priority than beautification? There is no point in me putting on jewelry and perfume if I haven't first washed my body.
    Thanks for provoking though Jocelyn! ~ Deborah