Fresh drinking water, who ever thinks twice about it?
You just go to your kitchen whenever you want some, either from a faucet, or chilled from your fridge.
For a lot of people in this country however, while fresh drinking water is free it's not piped to their homes.
See that structure on the sidewalk in the pic below? There are 2 taps on the face of that small vertical wall.
I didn't realize what it was until one morning I was sitting on my balcony at sunrise and I watched a procession of women carrying big plastic containers on their heads and walking towards it. The containers looked like 6 gallon containers which they filled at the well and then, with all that weight on their heads (6 gallons of water weighs about 50lbs), they walked back up the street and out of sight.
Since then I've seen a beaten up old truck pull up to the well with the back full of large containers that he set about filling. When I went down to take a close up photo there was a guy washing his car beside it. It's constantly used.
The manicured lawns behind, including a rather sad vegetable garden, surround a large hotel and I'm taking this photo from my 5th floor balcony in a beautiful building on this side of the road. The luxury of the buildings that surround this well are incongruous with the reality that people have to go to a well and collect water. I guess that's why they went to the trouble to make this water well look more attractive.
But then, while I was looking for information on the internet about water wells here in Bata, I came across this photo of another water well with exactly the same tiles.
That's the message we are given here, very strongly: Only drink bottled water.
The local well is also a great place to cool off and clean up. Photo courtesy of a friend, Salvador.
They say it's the little things that count. But when do we stop to count the little things? We take safe running water in our homes for granted.