Finding and Collecting Lost Water on Havana Streets

Sitting on the porch, a couple of young people try to fill some buckets in in front of their building located on Malecón avenue. (14ymedio)

By Natalia López Moya (14ymedio)

HAVANA TIMES – Every neighborhood has its secrets, its particular signs and marks. The place where the lowest tap is located is one of those pieces of information that can save a meal, a bath, and even a life. It is in that faucet, sometimes at ground level, where the water arrives first and leaves last. Sometimes it is inside the stairs of a house, other times in the corridor of a tenement and many times, in an old hydrant it runs out of.

In the midst of the profound water supply crisis that Havana is experiencing, where more than 200,000 people are affected by the lack of the precious liquid, knowing the closest point where you can go to fill at least one jug, late at night, or the day when water is finally pumped, is vital knowledge. As in those wide and hot savannas where the animals try to reach the only lake that allows them to cool off and drink, in the Cuban capital a pipe that releases a trickle, when the others are dry, is anyone’s wet dream.

Sitting on the porch this Tuesday afternoon, a couple of young people were trying to fill some buckets outside the ground floor of their building located on Malecón avenue. A pipe, which was once under the sidewalk but has now emerged due to soil erosion and the desperation of the residents, released a small stream. It was all the water that had arrived in days at one of the many tenements overlooking the sea on that street that acts as a border and breakwater.

With patience, for long minutes and hours, the men filled bottles, containers, the jug that they would later place in the refrigerator to quench the thirst of their large family. Right there, too, they took the opportunity to take a bath in front of the gaze of passers-by. No one flinched or was shocked. Finding water in Havana is a meritorious task. Anyone who knows where the lowest faucet in their neighborhood is located has a better chance of rinsing their mouths, washing a baby or making lemonade.

Translated by Translating Cuba

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