May 5, 2014

Haulin' Water

I thought since my time in Newtok is winding down (so sad! can't believe it's almost done!) that I would finally write about something that is a common occurrence here in Newtok: 
hauling water.

Like you all probably know, Newtok does not have running water.  The school is the only building in the village that has it. After talking to other teachers in the school district, I realized Newtok is really the only village that does not have running water.
It's a joke among the teachers here that if you checked the box at the teacher's fair that you were okay with no running water then you automatically set yourself up to teach in Newtok. It's not really a joke actually….

There are many ways one can get water for their house. Some families here catch rain water - which Josh and I have been thinking about doing in Seward. Another way is that they go get blocks of ice or snow and leave it in a bucket to melt. And if it hasn't rained or there really isn't anymore ice like it is at this time they can go here:

and fill up.

Some teacher houses are lucky enough to have a water tank connected to their house. This allows them to do dishes normally with running water and allows one house to have a normal shower.
My house isn't that lucky.
I have to literally haul my water to my house that I will use on a day to day basis.
Now, if a husband is good for something, he definitely is good for hauling water back and forth.
All last semester, Joshua would try different ways of hauling as much water as he could.
The problem being: water is heavy!
We had a 5 gallon jug, but hauling that thing every other day was tiring.
So we found and collected some gallon juice jugs and a rope and VIOLA! 
We found our water hauling niche. 
So I have four almost all one gallon jugs tied with a rope.

With Joshua being gone, I can have these four jugs last me at least two days.
So usually I try to fill up on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 
All part of my weekly chores, right?!
So I go every other day to get water.

Takes all my strength to carry them!

 When I finally haul them to the house, I store them in their dedicated space easily accessible between the fridge and the sink:

The best part is that these four jugs can fill up everything evenly. Let me explain…

With my smaller jug, it fills my filter perfectly. It fills it right to the brim. It couldn't be more perfect.

See what I mean?! It took some skill btw to pour water and take pictures. I patted myself on the back for these pictures.

So my smaller jug goes in my Pure water filter - that leaves me three jugs left.
Before I use my water to wash dishes, brush my teeth, wash my face, etc - I always boil the water. Reasons being: 1) it kills germs 2) hot water just feels better. Who wants to do the dishes or wash their face with cold water. Not me! 
So I boil the water in this pot:

I am able to use 1 1/2 jugs to fill this pot up. That means these three jugs gives me two pots full! 

Andddd, my pot fills up my "faucet" (my water cooler) perfectly.

It could not turn out better!
If there was a perfect way to haul water, we have found it!

So that is our water situation in Newtok.  In Seward, we do have running water, but Josh has opted to haul water as well. It is a hard habit to break! Except this time, we don't have to go to the school to get it. We go outside. 
Our water source in Seward is literally right out of the ground.
All semester, all I've heard about it is how amazing this water is, how it is completely different  than bottled water. I didn't believe him. I guess the saying is right - "Don't knock it 'til you try it!"
Joshua goes and fills up a container every week. With that water, he is able to put it in a pitcher to stick in the fridge to enjoy all week long!
Before our hike, Joshua told me to bring my water bottle and we would fill it up since it was on our way. 
It is literally a hose coming out of the ground.

I don't know if there is a more "natural" way to get water!

 Needless to say, I'm going to be spoiled in Seward. I'll have an actual shower in my house, hot water literally "running" out of a normal faucet, and a way to get water literally from a spring. Only 13 more days - but who's counting, right?! :)


  1. Hi Emily! Just caught up on some of your posts. Hoping I get to meet Sally the Subaru when we visit Alaska in July. After the cruise, we are staying on in Anchorage for another day or two. Writing to kids in Mt. Carmel was a very cool idea. Hmm, maybe I should look up some of those embarrassing adorable pictures. LOL Take care.

  2. Wow you have dedication! Thank you so much for sharing. When i go camping and have to haul my own water or pump it through a filter it seems like a bit of a hassle. But I know there are people who do it every day! You are no exception i can see. Thank you.

  3. Consumable water is very important, especially when you’re on a boat and far away from the nearest clean source. Anyway, it’s great to know that you were able to ration some water from places near you. How are things doing for you nowadays? Thanks for sharing!

    Verna Griffin @ AXEON Water Technologies