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 zone...so 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.
Ain't life grand?!