Place Where You Live:

Gaborone, Botswana

The water pipe outside our gate burst early one morning. It was a warm night in Gaborone, Botswana, a place I had called home for two years. A new river bubbled up from the jagged hole in the ground and ran over the gate and into our thirsty yard. My mind was on mosquitoes who, I imagined, would now swam to this wet oasis.Gaborone is only a few hour away from the Kalahari desert, whose name comes from the Setswana word Kgala meaning great thirst, and Botswana struggles to meet the water demands of its growing population. A few weeks before, I had read another notice on water restrictions and the dropping level of water in the dams. We were urged not use potable water for gardening purposes. Therefore, our yard was thirsty. The grass long past any color close to green, it had become a brown akin to the dust that sometimes swirled up around our car as we drove through the nearby game park searching for zebra and giraffe.The water was finally turned off by Water Utilities at the main line and the river turned to a trickle, and then stopped. My neighbor had come to help sweep some of the water away from the yard back into the street. The ground by the gate had soften as the water filled every crack in the soil, and it suddenly opened up to swallow her. She quickly put her arms out and stopped her fall into the muddy watery cavern which appeared so swiftly below her feet. We pulled her shaking and wet from the hole, laughing a laugh of what could have been, but did not come to be.I told her my worries of the mosquitoes, as we sloshed through the water now up to our calves. She shook her head and said it would not be a problem. By noon, all the water was gone. Drank up by the parched soil. A few days later our yard turned back to green.