Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nicaragua 14: on cold showers

At first I thought cold showers weren´t so bad. It´s always above 70 degrees here, even at night. That was when I had just come from much colder weather. Now I´m used to being warm all the time and it´s kind of a shock to pour that cool water all over my warm self. It´s worse for people when it´s early in the morning, late at night, or if they´re sick or elderly. Imagine leaning over to scoop cool water out of a bucket if you have arthritis. On the other hand, as I remember from my first week here, it´s possible to take cool showers here in a way it wouldn´t be in Idaho or Ohio or even California. That water could get seriously cold. I bet in my run-down (now seemingly luxurious) student rented house in Ohio I could have become ill from taking unheated showers. But here the water doesn´t get that cold because the air doesn´t.

I should mention that the norm here is unheated water. Some hotels and restaurants have warmed water, and in Tipitapa they have thermal water underground so it´s warmed naturally. But a large portion of the country doesn´t even have running water.

Anyway, sometimes the water is running in our house and sometimes not. It always runs outside, though, out of two faucets, so we fill a barrel from a hose and carry the water into the bathroom in buckets. Then I take a shower pouring water from the bucket out of a little tupperware over my body. I´m considering cutting my hair as it is currently somewhat inconvenient to wash. People wash every day here, sometimes twice a day when it´s really sweaty. Also, when I take a bucket shower, I leave the shower shower turned on in case the water comes back while I´m in there.

Biking to and from Chacocente, and playing with kids outside, gets me really dirty. THe dust here is really fine. It gets through my socks and shoes onto my toes. Here is a picture of my feet after taking off said socks and shoes. See how tan I am? THat´s dust. See my feet? That´s the actual color of my skin.

I stayed at Chacocente overnight last Wednesday. I took a candlelit shower out of a bucket in the latrine. The water was still warm from yesterday´s sun, but the air was chilly. Then I took a picture of the sunrise. It was actually a pretty romantic shower, with candlelight and warmish water and the sound of it pouring onto the floor from the hose when the bucket was overfull. I woke up around 515 a.m. as usual. The sun rises at 6. Then I walked to the bus stop with the father of one of my preschoolers, to visit the dump with him as our guide.

Insidentally, the bucket is covering the other latrine hole, and this is the staff bathroom for the school.


satedm00n said...

Hi Beth, showers via bucket--cleanliness with a quickness, yea? I can't believe your skin is that brown--it's Haha. Is the dust there the type that sticks and builds? What does it smell like? I miss you much, keep writing!

David Reese said...

Dear previous poster,

The post you refer to was written by Rachael, not Beth.