Water, Electricity and a Walk to the Hospital

Living in Kamiti Courts was an adventure.  It was a short distance from town.  I liked it because I could walk and didn't have to take a matatu (taxi bus) unless I was in a hurry.  We lived in a two-bedroom apartment.  Alcides and Leslie had moved to lead the church in Harare, Zimbabwe and we were using their living room furniture.  Leslie was very clever.  She had commissioned a carpenter to make some wooden frames with a lip on top and then sewed cushions to make a pretty comfortable couch.  She taught me a lot about sewing, but I was never able to master the making of cushions. 

Our apartment was on the third floor.  The windows in the living room and the master bedroom overlooked the courtyard.  And in the middle of this courtyard was a spigot!  You might have pictured a fountain or perhaps even brick in the middle.  Nothing so fancy.  Just grass and a spigot.  At first we probably walked by that spigot every day and never even noticed its existence.  At certain times during the year we lived there, however, that spigot gained the attention of every person living in Kamiti Courts. 

For some reason the water pressure in the apartments wasn't very good and I guess maybe the water table was lower there than in other parts of the city.  If we hadn't had rain for awhile we had little or no running water in the apartment.  Tom carted bucket after bucket of water up 3 flights of stairs so that we could cook, wash ourselves, wash the dishes, flush the toilet and clean the apartment.  Even at the spigot the water pressure was low and Tom remembers standing in line a long time waiting his turn to fill up the bucket.

Shortly after Nicholas was born, I remember longing for a bath.  It was during one of the time we didn't have much water pressure.  Tom did the kindest thing and carted up bucket after bucket of water to fill the tub and then proceeded to heat a good portion of it on the stove.  It is something I will never forget!  Tom was working 52-56 hours a week at a local pharmacy at the time.  I know he was tired, but he has always been such a kind, serving husband.  That one went way beyond the call of duty!!!

So now you know two of the challenging things that happened living at Kamiti Courts.  One of the best things about living there was that we were on the same power grid as Nairobi Hospital.  There were several months in 1991 that power was rationed in Nairobi.  A schedule was published in the newspaper, letting everyone know when their area would have power and when it would be blacked out.  Because we were on the hospital grid, we never lost power!  That was a nice blessing! 

Since Kamiti Courts was so close to the hospital, Tom and I walked to the hospital when it was time for Nick to be born.  We only lived about 1/2 mile away.  It was relaxing to be able to stroll along, knowing we would be coming home shortly with our baby.  Funny, but I don't remember coming home.  I doubt we walked, though, since I had to have Nick by caesarean section.  I was in hospital several days after his birth and it was great that Tom could come visit straight from work and then get home so quickly afterward. Kamiti Courts may have some interesting memories, but it was our first home as a growing family and so I will always remember it fondly!  
Lori ZieglerComment