As I sit writing this message, we have electricity but no running water. You see, these two basic services that we very much take for granted in Canada, are luxuries in a country like Nicaragua. What is most difficult is the lack of water and coping mechanisms need to be taken. For example, water in my house is generally available from 8:00 PM (but it can start as late as 11:00 PM) to 10:00 AM (but can be shut off as early as 7:30 AM as it was this morning). This poses obvious challenges such as no water to bathe, to clean dishes, to cook or to drink. So, coping mechanism as having bottled water to cook and drink as well as storing water in large vats such as plastic garbage cans becomes an indispensable item of life here.
For electricity, it is most missed from 6:00 PM when the sun sets to 10:00 PM when you typically go to sleep (no late nighters here as the roosters, birds, parrots, dogs seem to get up like clock work at 5:30 AM every morning). Fortunately for me, the lack of electricity in the crucial evening timeslots has only occurred 4 times but it was felt and made life difficult for everyone. Mostly, it is the productivity at work that gets challenged. For example, our office has electricity shortages daily from 2:00 PM to 7:00 PM. This means that people work from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM and then go home (they would usually stay till 5:00 PM). This has had an impact on productivity and expectations of timelines have had to be relaxed (even further than you would in a Latin American country).
This blog was not written to complain because I realize that so many people around the developing world live with this constant reality of poor government infrastructure and planning, lack of funds to fix the problem and issues with water quantity and quality. No, this blog was mostly written to initiate the discussion on how we can sensibilize ourselves to the reality outside our shielded lives in Canada. I am a hypocrite because I long for constant water, for electricity to work without problems, for proper roads and sewage systems, for clean streets. However, I know that these are luxuries, not essentials as we have been led to believe. We are lucky to live where we do and let's never forget that. We should help others in their struggles but in a sustainable way. Only through this means can everyone live a comfortable life while insuring a future for our children.