Summer in Morocco was brutal. I first realized this on a five hour bus ride home during the late afternoon in June. I had never been that hot in my life, I thought I might pass out. My town is thankfully not one of the hottest, the highest maybe reaching 103 degrees. Although I live in the Sahara, I’m at about 4,300 feet above sea level so it stays cooler. Other Peace Corps Volunteers live in areas where it can reach over 120. People say my sight is “cold” in the summer, which also means it’s colder in the winter, but I definitely prefer that.
The lack of rain in the desert is one of my favorite characteristics of my site because I don’t like rain much. Though thunderstorms have been passing through more recently, which brings me back to the only ever time I loved rain- during hot and humid summers in Puerto Rico running through the rain with my cousins. But before August I think it rained once since moving here in December, and I was out of town. So there isn’t much water out here.
Starting in June, my water started turning off at around noon every day. A couple of days throughout the summer, in a pleasant turn of events, it would work until about three in the afternoon. I never realized how much my life revolves around water until now. I naïvely thought it wouldn’t affect me much. I quickly learned I had to start collecting water so I wouldn’t end up with a sink full of dishes or wanting to bathe with no water.
I know there are countless communities throughout the world without healthy running water at all. I’m lucky to have sufficiently easy access to water. I don’t even have to leave my house to collect water in the morning, and I support rationing water for the wellbeing and sustainability of the community. It’s just the first time I’ve ever been deprived, even in this small way, of this necessity. Sometimes I just turn on the water in the middle of the afternoon, hoping a miracle brought it back, because I’m sick of washing the dishes out of a huge five-liter bottle.
Living alone makes it much easier to handle as well. When I had company stay with me for a week, the two of us used way more than double the water. Caring for a family in these conditions, which many of my neighbors do, makes my situation seem like a walk in the park. I’m glad I have enough access to water in my home, and I admire the dedication and strength with which those without this right protect their families and themselves.
I’m privileged and blessed. I live through these difficulties here knowing I’ll be returning home next year, and this trouble will not follow me. This isn’t a complaint at all, just a reality check. It’s easy to forget that this is even possible when it seems unimaginable back home that water really won’t work when you paid your bill and turn the sink on. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to go searching and trekking for water. Having no control over whether water will flow out of your sink or shower. Turning the knobs out of desperation and feeling entirely powerless. Or having unsafe water flow through my house. Being dehydrated and having no option or even funds to buy water. Not able to wash your clothes, your plates, your home, your children, your body. I can imagine that it would begin to take other rights from you, like education, health, and happiness. There’s no resolution to this post, but it’s a genuine reaction to my small inconvenience.