It was on Christmas day when the last plumber left the house at 5pm, after having fixed the last leaking toilet. What a blessing it was to hear no more dripping in any of the bathrooms and what a blessing it was to be done with all the reparations and ‘experts’.
At least, that’s what we thought at that moment…
Sure enough the durability of the ‘moins cher’ highly inferior Chinese quality products is entirely in tune with the costs of it. It didn’t take long before we had to start replacing taps again and again I bought into the stories people continued to tell me: you won’t find anything better here.
I could tell anyone that in The Netherlands a tap lasts for decades and they would just stare blankly at me. What do they know about it? Most houses here do not even have running water. And if they do, they are equipped with leaking taps…
Why was I actually annoyed, they even asked me, it’s just the way it is over here.
Week after week, Amadou mentioned new repairs to be done. ‘No, Monique, it’s insane, that tap needs to be replaced again!’, he mentioned in despair one morning.
‘No, it’s not true…’, I murmured, I didn’t even want to hear about it anymore. Could anyone please fly in a decent hardware store?
‘Amadou, I am so done with this, it’s taking way too much of our energy all these repairs, I want to be able to focus on Papillon Reizen! Isn’t there any way we can find a better quality? Do we need to go to Bamako? Do I have to ask someone to send me a package from The Netherlands? What are we going to do to end this situation?’ Amadou thought it over for a while before going into town to talk to a friend who runs a hardware corner store.
With a wide grin he came home hours later with a ‘Made in Europe’ tap. I couldn’t believe my eyes and felt happy beyond words. Amadou struggled a bit, having to tell me that this particular tap was three times the price of the Made in China-ones. I explained him that if this tap would last at least three months it would already be ‘the same price’ and twice less the hassle of the replacement as well as twice less the waste of all the material. And if it would last even longer than three months it would actually be cheaper.
Not being used to thinking this way it took him a while before he really understood it, but he got it!
By now we’ve replaced all taps by decent quality, as well as the locks (we had people locked into the guest bathroom twice…). Sure enough no two taps are similar, since it all depends on whatever is available, but who cares?
No more dripping taps, no more fear of being locked into a room without having a chance to get out by yourself, no more brown water running from the tap when you open it and on top of that no more weekly annoyances!
I have moments just looking at the tap in my bathroom, when my heart overflows with joy and happiness. And sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night I instinctively listen for the sound of leaking (or even pouring out) water, being ready to jump out of bed and ran downstairs to close the main tap, only to find it being all silent and peaceful; just the sounds of the fishermen at the river. It still turns a smile on my face and grateful I turn over to sleep a bit more.
Long live ‘Made in Europe’!