Saturday, July 13


Gone are the days of cold drinking water.

Gone are the days of hot bathing water (to call our shower water cool would be generous).

Here we are in Zacapa, Guatemala, hosting an eyeglass clinic for the locals.  Although we're in the Guatemalan desert (also a loose term), the weather is humid, balmy, and altogether tropical.  It doesn't take long for a cold bottle of agua to succumb to the climate and turn HOT.  Not just room-temperature, not just warm, but HOT.  Given the area we're in, it also doesn't take long to realize that showering is best done in the morning, when you're ready to be roused awake by needles of cold water streaming down onto your skin.

Nothing says "good morning" quite like a cold shower, no?

Water.  Something I've taken for granted.  Cold drinking water by turning on the faucet or reaching into the fridge for the Brita pitcher.  Cold drinking water by pressing a button on the outside of the fridge, cold drinking water by shaking a couple ice cubes out of the tray from the freezer.  Hot bath water, hot shower water, hot water to wash your face, hot water to make leg-shaving a somewhat-enjoyable experience.  Clean water from the sink, clean water from the shower.  A clean shower in which you can open your mouth and not worry about Montezuma taking his revenge.

Haven't we all taken our beautiful water for granted?

This is how we wash our hands in Zacapa:

The first two photos are of the bathrooms in the church here (yes, those are two stalls).

Below are the things you need for hand-washing.  From left to right (and in no particular order): toilet paper to dry your hands, wipes to help scurb, hand sanitizer for after washing hands, and a bowl to scoop fresh water out of the cistern.

First, we scoop "fresh" water out of the cistern.

Then we pour "fresh" water over our hands.

Then we take a bar of soap and scrub-scrub-scrub.

Pour the "fresh" water over our hands again...

ALL DONE!  Clean hands??

Then we sanitize.

And below are the children of Zacapa... children who deal with this every day.  Think of them the next time you're washing your hands in your fluorinated, clean water.

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