No Water, No Lights   Leave a comment

The woman who lives on the other side the fence came by to ask last night if she could “buy” water from us.  I remembered the owner’s comments when we moved in about how they “gifted” water to the neighbors next door and “below” us (which I presumed last night, was her).   “Let me know how much it is when you get the bill” she says.    “I think that will work”, I say, since I already give water to our next-door neighbor, since he is quite poor, “but you’ll have to get another hose to connect with mine as it won’t reach over the fence”.    They run a pupusa place on the hill so I think they can handle the hos.e part.

So I mention this to my next door neighbor today, and immediately he says “Don’t trust her.  She’s bad! ”   NOW what have I gotten myself into!   He explained there was some issue with the neighbors down below, and according to him, they hooked up a wire to the electric box.  He colored his profile of her with another detail, saying “She hangs out with ‘brujos’ (witches).”

Later, I caught up with the workman about it, since he started renovating this house from day one after the owner bought it.  With his parochial Spanish I could understand about half the story, but bottom line, there was a dispute, and those neighbors came up “putiando” (swearing) at them and now neither he nor the owner talk with them anymore.

So this is interesting….

The lady down below just ‘moved back in’ a month or so ago, but hadn’t approached me, so I suspect she doesn’t like the price another neighbor is charging her or perhaps…another dispute?

You may have asked yourself  “WHY is your neighbor asking if she can “buy” water from me in the first place?”

Let me illuminate.   Shortly after I moved here, I got the scoop:  the water company did not set up water pipes running from the main pipe to various residents’ homes (either the water company, ANDA did not want to or I’m guessing it was cost prohibitive for the residents).  So Doris, a different neighbor living down below, would buy water from the lady who used to own the house, by the barrel.  She finally got her “water line” set up, which is a small 1 inch PVC pipe running along (on top of, not buried) our neighbors yard, and then up in the “air” over the street below (as the hill drops) before taking a right angle to reach her house.  Doris is very happy now that she doesn’t have to make special arrangements just to have water in her house.

The workman explained that 3 years ago (somewhere in 2008) when he started working on the house, none of the houses below had electricity, which is a bit exaggerated.   The entire street was missing streetlights, and my neighbor below explained this past weekend that yes they have had electricity for some time, but that without street lights it was dangerous and he often walked with a knife to defend himself against the occasional ‘ambush mugging’ one could encounter here in the dark.

It is true that the house directly below us, owned by the woman asking for water, did not have electricity.  We know this because they snuck in and “stole” electricity, connecting a line directly to the breaker box which runs the pump for the reserve water tank next to the house, which initiated the dispute with them.  It is inconceivable for most Americans to build a home without electricity already connected, but here in El Salvador it happens enough; electricity and water may be set up some time afterwards when economics allow for it.

It is quite common for multiple houses on the same property to share the same electric meter.

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