Need water? Call the truck
There are no water mains in Hargeisa – no central water supply network to pipe water to houses. Each house has to have its own water supply in the form of a large water tank out back. The water is pumped up from the tank into the house.
When you open the tap and no water comes out, that means you’ve run out of water in the tank. It happens every one to two weeks, depending on how much water you use. You then need to call the water company (or more accurately, get someone who speaks Somali to call the water company) to refill the tank.
A water truck then comes (hopefully the same day) and, using a long tube which reaches over the compound wall and into the water tank, fills it up. Last time we filled the tank, it cost $44. Water is quite scarce around here at the moment as it is the end of the dry season.
Needless to say, we use water quite sparingly. I never dump any excess cooking water down the drain if it is possible to keep it for washing up later; dirty laundry water is poured into the dirt to water the plants; and when I shower I use very little water, turning off the tap between the “wet” and “rinse” stages.