chapter  8
7 Pages

Pickers, Sorters and Tap Attendants

Located close to where the buses stop, on derelict land, was another source of energy and opportunity clustered around an existing but intermittent standpipe, one of the few in this part of town. There were various clues which got us thinking. For one thing, it was curious to see a line of colourful buckets arranged in orderly fashion but with none of their owners in attendance. A couple of young girls were darting about playfully, keeping a watchful eye on the buckets, and curious themselves that we should be curious. What was striking was not so much the absence of water (a common occurrence, an acceptable hardship in the context of all else), but rather that people would trust to leave their buckets unattended without fear of losing their place in the line-up or, indeed, losing the buckets. There was, it seemed, some semblance of organization implied in the order of buckets, some purpose to our playful young girls. It mitigated, it seemed, the risk of theft, something to build on perhaps, as we considered extending the network to other parts of the settlement and having it properly managed.