Three years ago I took a nap.
At the time, I was staying in Zorzor, a small trading center in Liberia. I was sharing a house with two other Stanford students, and after six weeks of bucket bathing in our previous house, we were pretty happy to have running water. Our flush toilet had to be flushed using a bucket of water, so after using the toilet we’d always fill up the bucket for the next person. Because it took a while, I’d sometimes start the tap, and come back in a few minutes. Except one day I forgot, and laid down for my daily nap. I woke up a few hours later to screaming from one of my roommates that had just returned home – the whole house was flooded! Everything on the floor was completely soaked, and I spent the rest of the day squeegy-ing the entire house, to sweep the water out.
Well, in what felt like deja vu, my bathroom flooded last week. I swear, this time it was not my fault. The tank of my toilet kept overfilling, so I had a plumber come over to look at it. He turned off our water, and was installing new hardware, when he got an emergency call about a broken water pipe. So, he left, promising to return within an hour. I was working in the kitchen, but when I returned to my bedroom, I heard water running. Turns out that the cleaning lady, who lives on the property, had thought the plumber was finished, and she wanted water, so she turned it back on.
Since the connection to my toilet was open, water came gushing into my bathroom. By the time I caught it, it was ankle deep. All of the plubmers tools, and the surge protector I brought from home, were underwater. I grabbed the only cloth I knew of in the house (other than my clothes of course) – the bedsheets. Then, I stood in the bathroom for about 30 minutes, emptying the small bucket I had hanging from the exposed pipe every 60 seconds, until the plumber returned.
A nightmare, indeed, but I think I have finally learned to never leave anything on the floor in Africa.