Archive - October 24, 2009

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Water

Water

The following was the 1998 recipient of the Moritz Thomsen Peace Corps Experience Award presented by Peace Corps Writers  for the best short description of life in the Peace Corps. • Water by Rachel Schneller (Mali 1996–98) WHEN A WOMAN CARRIES WATER on her head, you see her neck bend outward behind her like a crossbow. Ten liters of water weighs twenty-two pounds, a fifth of a woman’s body weight, and I’ve seen women carry at least twenty liters in aluminum pots large enough to hold a television set. To get the water from the cement floor surrounding the outdoor hand pump to the top of your head, you need help from the other women. You and another woman grab the pot’s edges and lift it straight up between you. When you get it to head height, you duck underneath the pot and place it on the wad of rolled . . .

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