Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hot Water!

Glory be!  We have hot water from the tap after 6 days of only cold...

It took the workers and us a few days to figure it all out.  We knew it was serious when new batteries in the water heater unit didn't fix the problem.  Our worker came and took the unit away to his shop for a couple days to work on it.  Culturally, the first task is to try to fix the existing whatever...not replace it with a new one.  We gave the worker 24 hours to try to fix the stupid thing, or we'd need to buy new.

We think it's also cultural that hot water out of the tap is not that important to some Ecuadorians.   We've visited some old family homes here in Cuenca and some of the kitchens are cold water only...still.  The showers have those terrible electric heating units at the top of the shower head (those kind that electrocuted US soldiers a while ago in the war not safe, in our opinion.)  Laundry areas in these old family compounds are cold water only, too.  Some of you will remember we added hot running water to the Adobe rental when we renovated the unit.  That apt was cold water only, too, when we bought it. 

We live in a modern building, so we have fairly modern plumbing, hot and cold running water, which we take for granted.  But, many of the older places do not and it seems just fine with the families. It's not necessarily about the money, it's just cultural.  To some Ecuadorians, not having hot water from the faucets is 'normal' and not a priority, like it is with us.

Ahhh, the frustration of no hot water!  But, during all the frustrating troubleshooting, Nancy remembered her days on a rural farm in the Welsh countryside with no tap water, none, only water from the well (which looked dicey at best).  From a 19 year old  American student's perspective, it was all just yucky...

It was the German girls, Nancy's traveling companions, who just took it all in stride and told her to 'buck up'.   They just went to the main farm house, got the big soup kettles, built a fire outside, got the water from the well and heated it.  Then they found old wash basins and mixed the water to warm.  No problem.  It took awhile, but it all worked just fine.  Everyone ended up laughing and having a wonderful time washing each other's long hair outside, surrounded by curious cows and goats.  Just one of life's lessons for a young US city girl in the country. Funny how those old memories come rushing back when you need them! 

With those memories, and since we had running cold water, we just heated some in our soup pots on the stove and mixed the temp in the sink.  MUCH easier than that experience on that rustic farm in Wales!  Or, on one of our camping trips...

Yes, the worker was able to fix the unit's electronic system and we are grateful for that. 

Nothing like a hot shower!  We won't be taking hot tap water for granted again. 

Here is a picture of our water heater (hot water on demand)...all fixed  now and working just great.

Ain't life grand?!


  1. Nancy, I went on a mission trip to Brazil for 19 days back in 2001 when the country was having a shortage of electricity and we were forced to take cold showers and wash our clothes in cold water. There is an art to taking a cold shower. I got pretty good at it. One leg at a time, then one arm at a time, etc...

    And washing our blue jeans in cold water---UGH!! Plus it was winter time and they were having record cold temps. That trip was one that I was glad when it was over.

    I can definitely relate to not having hot water. I think when I finally got home, I took a hot shower for at least 30 minutes. Glad they got it fixed for you!! Sue

  2. HI Sue, thanks for sharing your story.
    You know, all those things we take for granted, from our US days, can certainly get our attention when they disappear! Sometimes it's a brand new paradigm here and we're still learning and adjusting. At least we had cold running water, unlike the day we had NO water...for hours. But, we survived that one, too. (I'm getting good at NO whining!)
    See you soon,