Thursday, January 31


"Home and steam house"
Aniak, Alaska
January 2008

For the past two weeks, we have had no running water. Even though melting snow on the wood stove may have a romantic touch to it, it surely disappears completely when it's time to wash dishes. Today, finally, the house has return to its normal state and water runs through the pipes, carrying incredible amounts of rust along. But that is what you get when you live here in Aniak.

I do have to say that we have been very lucky. Somehow it has been possible that George, one of the few handymen in Aniak, in a record time of two weeks, has found and installed for us a new water pump. In Aniak, this is ahuge. And I'm not kidding. Here the norm is that anybody will make you wait for months before deciding to do any kind of work for you. Because they feel like it, because they can, and because they don't want to work too hard. Or maybe it's just that they don't like us foreigners. Anyway, you can't open the yellow pages and call another plumber, because there are no yellow pages and no other plumbers.

The few businesses in town are a grocery store, a gas station, and a cute and very small pizza cabin. Coming from the country that probably has the greatest number of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and pubs per square mile, living in a town where there is no place for social gathering other than Bingo is odd, to say the least. We have bingo of course, but no restaurants or bars.

I'm losing my train of thought here, let me regroup. Being without running water for two weeks has made me think about the little attention that we place on so many things that we take for granted in or "civilized" civilization. To open a faucet and have cold or hot water instantly. Hit a light switch and light appears. Put dirty clothes in a machine and they come out clean. Flush the toilet and get rid of your shit. Commodities that nowadays we take for granted and even think we have the right to have. And no, what they really are is a luxury.

My daily shower has always been my favorite moment of the day to go through the list of things that I am thankful for in my life. Now my list includes things such as a water pump, a washer, and a water pipe, even if it's all rusty.

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