TWO YEARS. Two Years!!! Well, almost. I *almost* made it two whole years without dropping a bucket into the well. I dropped a t-shirt in there once, a month or so after arriving in my village, but that was it until last week.
In order to get water for showering, drinking, washing clothes, etc. I have to walk to the well, where families leave ropes tied to water bags, buckets, jugs, etc. I toss one down into the well, fill it with water (depending on the container this can require some finesse) pull it up, fill my bucket, and walk home with the bucket on my head. Families are really protective about their water-pulling contraptions because plastic and rope dont exactly come cheap.
Last week I went to the well, and mid-bucket toss I got distracted by thoughts of all the sushi Im going to eat in America and completely forgot to hold on to the rope, thus throwing the entire thing out into open air. I watched in horror as the bucket started to fill while the rope snaked 30ft down to the water table...of course two women walked up right as it started to sink. They immediately went into action mode and started tossing other buckets down to try and catch the sinking rope/bucket, but could only get it halfway up before the water weight pulled it back down. One of the women is my mute neighbor, and while holding the rope about 15ft above the water, she started shouting incomprehensibly at me while gesturing to a nearby field. I ran off in that direction having literally no idea what was expected of me, but came hopefully back lugging a 15ft long thorny branch that I saw on the ground. She gave me a thumbs up, and I lowered the branch (more of a log, really) down into the well, snagged the rope by flailing it around in the air, and slowly raised it (praying the branch wouldnt break) until the third women could reach it with a rake she had found somewhere.
Yeesh. The village women havent been letting me pull water since then, they take my bucket from me and fill it themselves...and I can't say I mind too much : )