Bathroom operators at Blantyre market are cashing in from the scarcity of water in some parts of Blantyre city as many residents who work in the city have resorted to taking their bath at the market.
For almost three weeks now, Blantyre city has been locked in a serious water crisis as the Blantyre Water Board (BWB) are said to be replacing old water pipes with new ones, a situation which is forcing residents from townships such as Chilobwe, Chirimba, Ndirande and Bangwe to fetch water from unsafe sources.
And while everyone is looking for a quick fix to the problem, bathroom operators at Blantyre market are praying that the crisis should continue for a little bit longer as many customers are flocking to their business place.
âThe water crisis is a blessing in disguise. We are now earning more money from a range of customers that include: civil servants, minibus drivers, vendors and even âmen in suitsâ,â said Gift Ntagaluka, a bathroom attendant at the market.
âWe receive more than 20 clients every day and the service fee is K150 per person. We hope anytime we will increase the price because the demand is just so high.â
Asked where he and his colleagues get water to cater for such number of customers he said: âWhenever the taps are flowing, we draw large quantity of water and keep it in big drums for our business.â
Matthews Chimtengo, an employee at BR Computers in Blantyre and one of Ntagalukaâs customers bemoaned the current water crisis in Blantyre saying it has changed the normal way of doing things.
âThe state of erratic water supply in Blantyre is getting worse these days. It is as if we are no longer in Malawi. I am forced to take a bath here because we normally reserve the little water my wife draws for cooking and drinking,â he said.
âI also know of many people who are now wearing dirty clothes to work. Some use only a cup of water to clean their armpits for fear of smelling, while others only rely on perfumes,â added Chimtengo.
He thus blamed BWB for failing to plan ahead of time to in order to minimize the crisis.
âWhere have they (BWB officials) been all this time? Itâs like they have just woke up today and say we want to install new machines. These things need to be well planned because you are dealing with peopleâs lives,â fumed Chimtengo.
And John Kapito, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) Executive Director also lambasted BWB, saying it is taking peopleâs lives for granted.