The biggest problem I have faced since arriving is a sewer problem in kasapa apartment. The house holds 6 sister missionaries, and all at once the toilets stopped working! As we investigated the problem, we found the septic system was no longer working.
The water table in the area was so high, it filled the septic tank, preventing the toilets from working. The house right next door has a well in the middle of the house– making water within easy reach of most of the neighborhood! This is one of the problem with this house and the area in general: water. The house is fully plumbed, but no water gets INTO the house… we have a large water tank in the corner of the property where the sisters have to go to fill bidons and carry them into the house for all their water needs.
Fortunately, the owner is trying to fix the problems (although there is no fixing the water problems, as that is the city’s problem… and good luck with that…
The owner is installing a new, sealed, septic system, and reworking the area so the water can escape… into the neighbors yard…
The owner installed a tiny (portable?) septic system to be used while the larger one is being installed– which may take a few months. Here in the Congo, they don’t use the porta-potties we have in the states (although we just found some the other day), they actually install ‘temporary’ septic systems in areas, like construction sites, that they simply pull up and move after they are done with it!
These sisters, and many of the elders in other areas, have struggles just doing daily chores like getting their water, washing, cooking, bathing, etc., since ALL the water they use must be hauled-in from outside the house. The lucky ones have a water tank in the yard. Some, however, must, like the other locals, walk to the nearest water source to get water to use for their day. In addition, they then must ‘pump’ water from the bidons, through the water filter, and into another container, for drinking and cooking. We have the same water filters in our apartment, but since we usually have water pressure, we just turn on the tap, turn the valve to have the water pass through the filter, and we have clean water.
Cooking is another matter. Some apartments have electricity, most have it intermittently, and some just don’t have it at all. So some have hot plates to heat their food, some have gas grills, but most–actually all, as they prefer them–use charcoal to cook. Everywhere you go you will see people selling, transporting, and using charcoal for fuel. Again, just very time consuming.