One big difference between my school campus and the University campus I currently work at is access to water.
Back at school, we used to have an almost 24/7 access to water supply because of the fact that we used electricity to pump our water from underground. In my entire stay in campus, I think I’ve had only 3 situations where we had a water shortage.
Over here, though, things are a lot different. There’s very limited supply of water here. The taps are rarely open. If you’re not lucky to find yourself in a hostel that has a Tank or Reservoir, you’re going to struggle a lot with getting water. I’m lucky to be part of the lucky ones as my hostel has a Reservoir we fetch water from. But even with that, comes another problem.
You see, the reservoir doesn’t distribute water directly into the pipeline to go to our rooms, so you need to have a container to store water in your own room. I brought a container with me from home but unknowing to me, it had a crack under it. I’ve been struggling a lot without the container so I’ve wanted to get it fixed for a while now but I couldn’t because I was mostly busy with work during weekdays and too tired to go to town during the weekend.
I had to get it fixed on Saturday last weekend because the lack of a container caused my pockets to leak too much money. Every week, I buy approximately 2 purewater packs which cost 20cedis(&1.6) to wash utensils with and do other stuff when I could fill my container to the brim with no more than 10cedis($0.8).
There are local people who mend these types of plastics by melting other plastics, and pouring it onto the portholes of the broken plastic to mend. Problem was, I didn’t know exactly where in town to find them.
When I got into a tricycle to get to town, I was lucky enough that the rider suggested he knew a couple of places where I could get it done and even suggested to take me there directly.
Unfortunately, we got to the place he thought we’d find a plastic mender and they seemed to have been closed because it was weekend. I guess I wasn’t so lucky after all.
We were out of options and I called a friend to ask if he could show me where to go next. Just before we headed there, the tricycle rider hit me with a “you know what?”. He suggested to me that there was a certain powerful adhesive they use to fix their bikes and that he knows a few people that have used it to mend their punctured plastics too. It’s not like I had much of an option so we went to an nearby auto mechanic product store and got some adhesive called Epoxy Steel.
The auto mechanics called it different name though. Aradite. I wondered why that was even though Epoxy Steel was clearly written on it. But it’s nothing to be surprised about because people around here have their own local names for many products, mostly because the english names are too complex for them to pronounce and remember.
Anyways, after we got Aradite, the next thing to figure out was where to stop in a busy market to do a DIY fix. We rode around the busy markets of Tamale looking for a vacant shop whose owner hadn’t opened yet, to park the tricycle and fix the container.
After a while of riding around, we found a vacant shop whose owner hadn’t opened yet to chock in. I didn’t know how aradite works so most of this DIY was just me watching and taking notes(and pictures lol) as the tricycle rider did the mending.
Aradite’s adhesive effect is shown when you mix the adhesives from the two separate tubes. There’s a stick inside the packaging with the two tubes which you use to mix the two to form the active aradite adhesive.
So we started by mixing an approximately equal amount of adhesive from each tube, and mixing with the stirring stick. The black tube had a purple liquid and the and the yellow one, a pink liquid. We mixed it on the package it came with and boy was it hot!
After mixing, we flipped the container upside down to where the crack was and applied the mixture on it at the bottom. We did so because I was worried since aradite is used for automobiles, it might be toxic and contaminate the water I’ll put inside it if I applied it inside the container. At first, it’s this clear liquid as you can see on the container. We spread it to cover the entire area the crack spread through.
After a few minutes, the previously clear liquid solidified into a thick white solid mend and covered the crack. But to be more cautious, we mixed more aradite and added some more on top of the one we just did and it was perfect!
I couldn’t test if the leak was repaired at the spot so I just took it back to campus in hopes that it was fixed. Bad idea, but it worked fine because I didn’t see a problem when I filled it water at home. Hopefully my days of struggle for water are over. (For now)
DIYs are life savers! I scaled down what would’ve cost me over 30cedis($2.5) for someone else to repair, to 8cedis($0.6). And what’s better, I still have a lot of aradite left over from that day that I can use on other occasions if I ever have a similar situation. But even aside this, I just saved myself another 10cedis weekly since I’ll no longer be spending 20cedis($1.6) on pure water weekly anymore. I’m feeling the minimalist vibe right now:)