Sunday, September 29, 2013

Bathing Alternate Days

Bathing Alternate Days / Rosa Maria Rodriguez
Posted on September 28, 2013

Every other night between 8:00 and 10:00 the zone where I live "has its
turn" at the water, and when it runs for a while, my block shows itself
off like a shiny glass mirror. It is because the conducting pipe from
the aqueduct "comes out" in that section — and in many others in
different blocks, neighborhoods and municipalities — and in the absence
of street cleaner cars, which have not been seen in years in Havana
neighborhoods, we are left the impotent alternative of watching as the
water leaks out cleaning and polishing my asphalt artery under the
opaque light of an ephemeral Chinese fixture.

In Vibora it is now tradition that each time it rains the roadways flood
and the neighbors and pedestrians feel like wrecks adrift on the water
and waste, because they do not sweep the streets and the trash from the
containers that they begrudgingly pick up are dragged to the nearest
drainage and clog them. After the downpour passes, it is common to see
much filth trapped by the tires of parked cars on the side of the street
and much filth and various objects — buoyant or not — change places
because of the waters.

It is ironic to sit in front of the television and see spots directed at
citizens that speak of hygienic-sanitary measures and encourage the
saving of the vital liquid in our homes, which seems fine to me. "Drop
by drop water is depleted," says one of these. We all know the
importance of this liquid for satisfying fundamental human needs, and
industrial activities and very necessary energy resources depend on it.

Nevertheless, the vital liquid that we consume domestically is
contaminated with waste water due to the quantity of broken pipes and
drains that exist and that are the result of years of negligence. In the
same way, while in many places in Havana the leaks are public, in others
they have not had running water for years, months or days because of the
poor organization and distribution of the supply and because the
aqueduct networks are too old. Almost all date to before 1959, so that
in more than 54 years there has not existed the political will to solve
this paramount subject for the people.

When a pipe breaks in the street and the neighbors call the state entity
"Havana Water," their plumbers show up as if they were tire patchers,
armed with pieces of tubeless tires for wrapping the pipe and solving
the problem as if it were a flat tire.

Maybe some think that I should be happy because my block is bathed on
alternate days but there are so many places in our country and in the
Cuban capital that lack that valuable liquid, that I cannot help but
think of the cleanliness that many public offices in Cuba also need,
whose bureaucrats do not stay in them because of their efficient
management or for the service they offer the people who supposedly
elected them, but because of their unconditional adherence to a
contaminated regime of administrative inefficiencies and sewer politics
for decades.

Translated by mlk

28 September 2013

Source: "Bathing Alternate Days / Rosa Maria Rodriguez | Translating
Cuba" -

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