My bathroom plumbing that is…not that plumbing…In keeping with the posting every four days, I figured you all would enjoy this hilarious story.
Night one of showering in Ghana, I had no problems. No leaks, no floods, no water on the floor without finding the source, no shower curtain problems, nothing. Not. A. Problem. Day two and forward some issues began. I thought it was because I had the world’s thinnest shower curtain in my bathroom. The water must be getting out because of this shower curtain flapping in the wind like a flag on 4th of July. So proud, waving consistently, without even any wind. What do I do, being the problem solver that I am, I get a new shower curtain (My dear friend Annie informed me that she had an extra one form the States, from Target, with magnets in the bottom). I thought for sure the magnets in the bottom would hold it down and it would not wave in the water wind. Well it sure stayed in place, however water was still showing up places it should not have been.
I begin to investigate and find that the faucet head to where the water comes out, is leaking. A slow drip, simple, cannot cause too many problems. WRONG. Turns out a slow drip (despite having shoved a few towels under it), left overnight will still get you a bathroom floor with massive water puddles everywhere.
Finally after a week of trying to figure out how so much water was coming out into the places it should not have been, I investigated further. One of my former roommates always called me “Tim The Tool Man” because usually I find a way to fix the problem. Armed with my wrench that I borrowed from the school and some low patience, I realized that the water was also coming from six pinhole size holes in the faucet head. These were spraying everywhere, consistently, and especially harder when the pump was running outside (this happens any time someone flushes a toilet, turns on a faucet, a shower, you name it the pump runs then).
Ghana plumbing is no joke. You do not try to fix this stuff on your own. In the first place it is all bad plumbing, they do such a shotty job of plumbing here, it is embarrassing. I am no plumber myself, however what knowledge I do have tells me there should not be water coming from the wall, or spraying out the side of the handles, any time the handles are delicately touched. It is not rocket science folks. My stubborn self finally grew tired of this issue (more or less I grew tired of wringing out my towels, line drying them in the African heat, and then repeating steps 1 through 2 each evening).
I FINALLY SUBMITTED A WORK ORDER! I know, I caved. Could not fix this one on my own. Well I was informed that Sammy the plumber would come over to fix it within the next day.
Sammy after inspection came to me and told me that he would tell me how to enter the shower properly so that the water does not come out. Despite the language barrier, I think he could tell I was giving him the “You are an idiot” face. I KNOW HOW TO ENTER A SHOWER. I said well did you see where the water was flowing freely from? Did you see the pinhole leaks all over the faucet head? He assured me “yes, yes, I will fix it, I promise.” I was thinking Ohhh Sammy for your sake and mine I sure hope you “fixed” the problem and not just instructed me on how to enter the shower from the back of the curtain and not the front, so the water does not leak out (Yes, those were his instructions).
Hours passed by and Sammy came to my office at school and returned my key. He informed me that he fixed the faucet head by replacing it. He also informed me not to use my shower for the next day because he built a small wall to stop the water from exiting the tub wall. In my head I was cracking up thinking “oh boy I can only imagine what this contraption looks like.” I was so excited to get home to see if the water actually isn’t leaking anymore.
I got home and found that Sammy had built the second great wall:
That Rhino horn looking thing is simply builders clay. It now directs what water that does escape back into the tub (or so I have found it just becomes standing water right there). Needless to say I am thankful to Sammy the plumber for installing a new faucet head. However he could have saved us some money and had I thought about it would have used my play-doh to build the second great wall right there. I guess that is why he makes the big bucks though and I work at the international school.
Regardless, thank you Sammy! The good thing is so far so good, no water on the floor. I am actually thankful for the miniature great wall because otherwise water would still escape. Now is the time I could really use one of those Bath Fitter people you always see the commercials for in the States to come and build me a level tub.