Sunday, July 22, 2012

Drinking water scarcity

They are getting more and more. I mean the everyday problems.

It’s five months now that queuing at petrol stations is normal. Buses, lorries, taxis and private cars are waiting until three or four o’clock in the morning for the much sought after fuel.

Like every year, this summer as well, Egypt is suffering from power cuts that last from a couple of minutes to many hours. Sometimes, there are “only” current fluctuations. Only is meant sarcastically, because not only food in the fridge and the freezer become inedible but also electric appliances can’t deal with it and die. That may get expensive.

Since a couple of days ago, drinking water is not available everywhere. First, there were no 6 and 7 litre bottles anymore and I put up with the 1,5 litre bottles. They are more expensive and each single bottle means more rubbish, even though there are PET-collectors. Since two days ago, there are not even any 1,5 litre bottles to be bought in my supermarket. Not all parts of the town are concerned in the same way. I already imagine that I’ll have to ask my students to bring their own water along with them and I will boil water for me.

Today I was lucky enough to have a car and a driver and so I went to buy 35 litres of water in another region. I hope that its consumption, the supply will be less worrisome. Otherwise, I really will have to boil the water. Egypt teaches to help oneself.

Why is there a drinking water scarcity? Allegedly because of the fuel shortage. And why is there a fuel shortage? And why are there power cuts? And why? And why?

Yesterday evening, an (Egyptian) friend and I discussed many of these Whys on which Egypt doesn’t seem to have an answer. But of course there is. But nobody is seriously asking about them. Why? Because Egyptians put up with everything, accept everything, don’t question anything, don’t criticize anything. You just have to spend a couple of hours at a train station to witness the following: even if a train is late for several hours, nobody complains. My friend said that Egypt hasn’t changed at all for centuries. Even Napoleon described Egyptians to be extremely indulgent, patient and fatalistic. Egyptians put up with almost everything.

Sometimes, I could fall into despair about this.

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