Drawing Water

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Even though we did not speak the same language, the village women made it clear that they wanted me to experience hauling the water bucket from the bottom of the 118 meter well. I stepped up to the edge of the gaping hole surrounded by four hefty wooden logs. Each one was deeply grooved in parallel lines by the daily passage of ropes. I was terrified that I would fall in. I took hold of the thick rope with both hands and pulled, digging my feet into the dirt, trying not to look down. The great resistance of the water-filled bucket deep down at the bottom of the well traveled up the rope. I could feel the women behind me as they grabbed the rope just behind my hands. There were three of us in a line, bending forward and leaning back in unison as we inched the heavy bucket closer to the surface. It seemed it would take forever. Finally, with sweat seeping through my shirt, we pulled the large pouch made of tire rubber to the surface. Cloudy water sloshed onto our dusty feet and instantaneously disappeared into the hard packed earth.

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