It seems there's a bit of a water crisis in Saudi Arabia right now, and the impact on the every day Ahmed is getting worse. Now, the news that there's a water shortage isn't odd in itself. This is a desert kingdon we're talking about, after all.
From what I can glean from the article, people purchase water coupons at a window, then hand the coupons to a tanker driver, who's supposed to then deliver the water to the purchaser's home. Instead, tanker drivers have been taking the coupons, then dashing off to sell the water on the black market and never delivering the water to the buyer. This has necessitated the customer to accompany the driver in the truck to the customer's home to ensure delivery.
But neither the water shortage nor the crooked delivery drivers are the big problem, according to this news item:
Women — young and old, shrouded in black, most with their faces totally covered — climbed up to seat themselves into the cabs of water tanker trucks alongside the drivers.Too bad you can't drink crude oil.
“It is either that or the driver will run off with your water,” said a security officer to a twenty-something Saudi woman, who called herself Muna, when she drew back from joining a water tanker driver in the passenger seat. She said her brothers were angry enough because they had already bent the rules in allowing her to come to the Water Distribution Center in a taxicab. With her father dead, Muna’s brothers, some studying and others employed, had full legal guardianship over her, but none had the time to either fetch water or even give her a ride to Aziziya.
Citizens waiting at the center remarked that this practice was improper. “How can they ask them (the women) to ride in the cab without a mehram (legal guardian). This is a clear violation.”
“Ride in the water truck beside the driver alone and all the way home? Ya rabi — oh my God — what do I do?! I thought things here would be different today,” she cried raising her black-gloved hand to her black-covered head.