The Route of the Moisture

On the corner there is a hydrant which, at night, turns into the water supply for hundreds of families in the area. Even the watercarriers come to it, with their 55 gallon tanks on rickety old carts that clatter as they roll by. People wait for the thin stream to fill their containers and then return home, with help from their children to push the wagon with the precious liquid. Every two days these inhabitants of Central Havana make the water run, tired of waiting for the pipes in their bathrooms and kitchens to bring them something other than noise and cockroaches. They live in dilapidated tenements in the old mansions with ornamented walls and mold in the ceilings. It doesn’t matter what the state of the housing is, or whether it’s the rainy season or a drought, the problem lies under the ground, in the water mains that are as old and worn out as their grandparents.

Many of the residents who rent rooms to foreigners have installed motors known as “water thiefs.” At night they turn them on and they pump the water that should supply the nearby houses into their own water tanks; it’s the only way to guarantee that the tourist guests can take a shower. If a break in the water main is announced, then they pay someone to lug several buckets from the nearest street, or buy the contents of a water truck for the equivalent of a monthly salary. Access to drinking water has been, for many years in numerous Havana neighborhoods, a question of purchasing power. Those who have more can open the tap and let it run while they wash their hands; those who have less rinse their mouths with the contents of a jar.

I still remember how annoyed my grandmother was when I told her I couldn’t take it anymore, having to use the bathroom when there was nothing to flush with. Then we had to pull up the bucket on a rope from the floor below, helped by a pulley installed years before on the balcony. This up-and-down ritual has continued to multiply until it has become standard practice for thousands of families. In their busy daily routine they set aside a time to look for water, load it and carry it, knowing that they cannot trust what comes out of the taps.

The creak of the wheels has a different sound, when the tanks are full versus empty.  On some street in my city – right now – a pair of arms is hauling a loaded cart home. The dirty dishes, the rice to be cooked, the clothes in the laundry, are waiting for her.


62 thoughts on “The Route of the Moisture

  1. On December 2009, Vice President Ramiro Valdes in an address to the National Assembly said, “Some 58 percent of the water pumped by Cuba’s aqueducts is lost due to the distribution network’s poor condition.” Among many other problems affecting the population is the state of neglect of aqueducts that cause those large amounts of water losses. Estimates by the Cuban National Institute of Water Resources (INRH) is that 4,000 km of aqueduct distributions lines, equivalent to 37% of the network, are in great need of repair. Because of this near to two million people, mostly in Havana, are afflicted with water shortage.

    The Castro brothers and his “expert” didn’t have to reinvent the wheel to expand the distribution system and repair the leakage of the existing infrastructure. Not only are they incapable of producing and creating, but neither can they successfully copy or learn from designs and longstanding technologies and operating experiences.

  2. Other hydraulic achievements during the period 1952 to 1958, under Batista regime, was the construction of the Cuenca Sur Aqueduct, which in conjunction with the replacement and repair of the of the mains and distribution pipes, solved the water supply problems of the city of Havana and other cities around it.

  3. 59Barbara Curbelo

    Mayo 17th, 2010 at 09:45

    You lost the “chaveta” …. you are no longer pretending to be a “deep analist and truth following commenter”…… you ended like all the other castro agents in the cyber….. unmasked and in frivolity hands….. of course…… having no arguments leads to silence but is better “bonche” and “boberia” than silence, it isn’t agent???…… good look defeated one!!!

  4. By the way, sandokan – Batista legalized the communist party in Cuba, so I’m assuming from your defense of his dictatorship, that your ‘beef’ is not with communism, but you, like other power hungry Batistianos are just upset that you are no longer running the show…

  5. #56 – who managed ALL those millions, Rafael Diaz-Balart? Jajajajajajaj!!!!!!

  6. #51 after #50 … there was no coment from you “laddy” … perhaps you are trying to “fib”?

  7. One of the first things Batista did in 1952 was to set up an appropriation of $14 millions to provide the city of Havana with an adequate water system. For many years Havana had suffered a water shortage and many politicians had promised to do something about the water problem, and none did. But Batista did something about it, something the Castros hasn’t done.

  8. 54YFET

    Mayo 16th, 2010 at 13:11

    Please note that I moderate and manage this blog, no one else does. I did not remove any comments here.

    Dear FET, if you do or don’t remove castrofascism’s supporters comment is something does not matter to them….. they will continue to “denounce” supposedly comment removal because it is their “strategy”. Same happened in the Spanish site of this blog and in many other blog of Cuban internal blogosphere. They start posting comment out of the main theme of the blog and posting personal attacks on other participants and using a very aggressive language. Second phase is to start accusing you of implementing censure ….. after that they will start to post comments using very vulgar language in order to make you remove those comments …… then they will accuse you again being a censor…….
    The “tactic” is old…. The used it in the Spanish site…. The Spanish moderator made his work and the site did not suffer…. But other blogs like Miriam’s suffered a lot because the blog has not moderator or because the moderator refused to moderate the site according the blog’s rules maybe believing that to implement the rules is a kind of censorship……
    Good look dear friend.


    Please note that I moderate and manage this blog, no one else does. I did not remove any comments here.

  10. Here’s the proof how this blog is a hypocrisy and a fascist platform for the terrorist Miami mafia. My comment right after Barbara’s at 50, has been removed.

    Why exactly is unclear to me. There are much better posts I wrote that could be removed. But then, do the usurpers and the “rulers” ever need or give an explanation? No. They simply eliminate the opposition when inconvenient ideas turn up and start eroding their own fantasyland.

    Well done and thank you for proving what a bunch of hypocrites you “fighters for the freedom and democracy” you really are.

    Spare me from “the code got corrupted” story.

    I just see no difference between the conservative fascists and Castros.

    None at all. Liars, hypocrites and manipulators. Only hiding behind the different flags.

  11. Barbara Curbelo

    Mayo 14th, 2010 at 14:26
    Associated Press:
    Bank agrees to forfeit $500 million to US

    Our foolish brigade seems to be in need of get an English language interpretation course….. They are posting news that demonstrates castrofascism is in need of laundry money!!!!!……. why need a country to laundry money????….. Obviously because this country gets money from illegal sources!!!!
    It is not the first time castro regimen is coutgh laundring money and some international bank is fined for being involved in the illegal action.
    In the next months we will have more news about castrofascism involving in drug trafficing and other corruption cases,

  12. The proof that the “end justifies the means”, the power of negotiation & blindness of the law all in one coment.

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