This week has been the saga of the hot water supply and in the end any water for the shower in my bathroom! First I need to acknowledge that I am very lucky compared to some volunteers – I have running water and also before this week hot water for showers. I also have a lovely landlord who when I ring him gets things fixed and is very sorry that there was a problem at all.
For the first month that I was in Axum there was one hot shower powered by a small electric heater on the bottom floor. This involved traipsing down two floors to get to the bathroom. I was promised though that the immersion heaters in the bathrooms connected to the ‘master bedrooms’ on each floor of the two floors would be fixed soon. When it was time for the other volunteer I thought I better ask if this was ever going to happen. The day of his arrival everything was finally fixed. We moved our beds with the help of the handyman/plumber, who seems to be on call for all the odd jobs, and also the woman who lives in the rooms behind the house within the compound. Everything seemed to be working well.
The following week though Monday morning started with finding that the hot water was a dribble only and the other shower with a heater downstairs wasn’t working so it was a cold shower that morning. I phoned the landlord to ask for it to be looked at. Another cold shower on Tuesday and then Wednesday there was no water at all coming out! A quick wash with a jug of water and flannel had to do. A second desperate call to the landlord at this point got the plumber/handyman round later that day.
He is a lovely man and even speaks a little bit of English. After taking him round the house to show him all the problems he decided that the water tank on the roof should be checked out. Apparently the outflow was full of sludge and all that needed to be done was clear it. Perfect I thought – an easy fix. Next morning I go to have my hopefully hot shower to find cold water only. Water at least but the hot still wasn’t working. Another call to the handyman brought him round later that day with another trip into the roof tank. Apparently this time there was no water in it and the inflow pipe had blocked with sludge! He kindly showed me the dirt that had been pulled out and I could hear the water flowing in.
Following this there was an attempt to fix the shower downstairs. I don’t quite know what happened but it ended up with water shooting out of a pipe all over the small bathroom and flooding the floor. Luckily by redirecting the flow of the pipe I managed to avoid flooding the whole house. The handyman went to the market and got another connecting pipe. Unfortunately by this time he had managed to break something else – from what I can gather a whole new heater is needed! He did manage to stop the water flow at least in the meantime.
Whenever he comes to repair a problem before something gets fixed it normally involves breaking at least one other thing first before all of the fixing happens. I’m never going to complain about plumber in the UK again (well maybe)! I do have a hot shower now though next to my bedroom which had been working well for five whole days now so fingers crossed 🙂