Drowning In The Desert
Many of you may already know that Lima is located in a desert. Despite this fact, and with considerable irony, the most common problem we have had in Lima, of late, has involved too much water. Since moving to Lima, we have struggled to understand, use, and protect the fragile system that directs and delivers this valuable resource to our apartment. Problems ranging from broken drainage pipes to a lack of hot water have become part of our new "normal" here in Lima. But the latest series of H2O difficulties have us considering whether we need to build a miniature ark to protect us from drowning in our new desert home.
Recently, I was hanging up a chart for the kids with a small nail (see picture above). After the third strike of the hammer, water began spraying out of the small nail hole like a fire-hydrant. I immediately screamed for Geoff to turn off the water. He ran into the kitchen to see water dousing the entire contents of one of the smallest rooms in our house. While after only about 3 minutes we had managed to decrease the water pressure from geyser like force to a small brook, it was around 15 minutes before we could stop the water completely. Our victory was short lived though, as we were soon to discover that the cost of stopping the leak was that we had lost water pressure to the rest of the house - the toilets, sinks, showers, nada!
It was a bit of an inconvenience for a day, but we had someone over to the house to repair the problem the next day. All water was restored in the house, and I am now much more cautious about where I hang things. Lesson learned.
About two weeks later, I was having a lesson with my Spanish tutor when I noticed water seeping onto the floor from the bottom of the wall...IN OUR LIVING ROOM! I sopped up the water to notice more water flowing out from the same place between the floor and baseboard. Our landlord was remodeling the upstairs, and the men were working directly above the leak. Our Peruvian friend went upstairs to explain the situation, and, after some incredulous squabbling over whose fault it was, our owner came over and told the workmen they were responsible and had to repair the leak. They immediately tore a hole in the wall and spent the next couple of days repairing the leak and the wall.
I got several odd looks when I told them that I could paint over the repaired spot. I politely told them that I liked to paint, I had the color, and I would happily finish the job. Secretly, I did not want them in my house anymore. There had been enough mayhem and I was more than happy to put an end to that. We are now more flexible and less surprised by the inconceivable - especially when it involves too much water in the desert. Lesson learned.