Monday, October 25, 2010

Water Water Everywhere

You'd think an excess of water would be the least of my problems around here, but that hasn't proven to be the case.

As I mentioned, while I was away on my summer holiday, a leak in the water heater caused my bathroom ceiling to collapse, and flooded the bathroom. Since the bathroom (and indeed the kitchen as well) has a drain on the floor, the flooding wasn't much of a problem -- but it caused the walls to mold up.

There's also a constant leak in the hallway outside my apartment -- I don't know if it's the air-conditioning system or the plumbing, or both that are leaking. They fix it, and another appears a few days later.

So then, a couple of weeks ago, I put my clothes in the washing machine -- there's a shared washing machine on the other side of the building -- and turned it on.

The intake hose promptly exploded, spraying hundreds of gallons of hot water into my face, and all the way across the room.

I tried vainly to stop it by shoving the hose back into the wall; then, completely drenched, I went and got help.

The security guard showed up, looked at it, and called another security guard.

Hundreds of gallons of water were now pouring into the hallway. Another teacher and I were haplessly trying to keep the water out of the nearby rooms with mops.

After a half hour or so, the Bangladeshi maintenance guy arrived.

He had not the slightest idea how to turn off the water or stop the leak.

By this time, a group of teachers was busy building a dam in the hallway out of bricks and plastic sheeting. In doing so we managed to channel most of it out the side door.

Eventually I put on a swim suit and cut up an old bicycle inner tube and braved the spray of hot water and forced the tube over the broken hose, trying to channel the flow of the water into some trash barrels. This was succesful, but the trash barrels were filling up completely within a minute, and when full, were basically too heavy to move.

The maintenance main suggested we use the inner tube to direct the water flow into the drainage pipe; we did that for a while and tried using various combinations of duct tape to get it to stay in place, without much luck.

Finally someone hammered a piece of wood into the hole in the wall, and we moved the washing machine in front of it to keep it in place.

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