Chapter 44 Running Water

In 1976, the mother of one of our fellow missionaries, Dennis McKinney, was visiting him and his family. After a trip to Aparri, her comment was, “Happiness is electricity and running water.” We were in full agreement. In Enrile, for awhile at first, we had neither electricity nor running water. But then for a short time, the electricity came on from 6 PM to midnight. A few months later, we were thankful when the supply became constant. Water was also irregularly supplied. Chuck wrote about our water situation to our supporters at that time: “Water is another story. In the front yard, about on the property line between us and the neighbors, is a faucet just above ground level which serves the families living in these two houses. The water usually comes on for an hour or two in the morning. During that time we stand in line, taking turns filling our buckets and carrying the water to our containers where we store it for use throughout the day. For a period of two weeks recently, we rarely had water in the line so had to go to a neighbor who lived about a hundred feet away and use their hand pump. Because we live upstairs, all our water had to be carried up, and then the used water had to be carried down and thrown on plants to water them.

“Carrying water is a girl’s job in Enrile. Our neighbors had two strong teen-age sons, but a 12 year-old daughter struggled to carry many bucketfuls to supply the family’s needs. I was still too much of an American; I couldn’t ask Nora, our household helper (4’9” tall, 92 lbs), to carry our water. I didn’t like to carry it either. So, I devised a system using a storage drum downstairs, which was filled through a hose when the water was on—with sufficient pressure, and a hand pump upstairs so that Nora could get the water for us. A copper tube in the exhaust pipe of the refrigerator heated water for washing dishes. A hose through a hole in the wall carried the waste water away. It was quite nice. (Bath and toilet were still outside, however.)

“We ended up purchasing a large water tank which we paid to have put up on a tall metal platform behind the house. We bought an electric water pump, and pumped water up into that tank. Then it was ready to be brought into the house any time we turned on the water faucet. We praised the Lord for that.”

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