Showering here in Honduras, although mostly the same, at times has definitely been different than what I was used to in the Untied States. I cannot say that I was anticipating a five star hotel, but I think it is worth noting the differences and how it is unique to what most people experience in the US. There are three main ways that it can be different and when they all three combine, the triple threat, you are definitely reminded that you are living in a developing country.
To begin, none of the showers are hot. Even though we live in a very nice house hot water is not a thing in Honduras because it is already so hot out. That being said all the showers in our house have a “suicide shower” attached to the shower-head. This is an electric device that is attached to the shower-head that the water runs through. It is meant to heat the water up, but really all that it does is take the chill off of it. I will say though that without the suicide shower the water is ice cold compared to room temperature.
During the hot summer months when it rarely rains, there is not a lot of water available. This brings me to the next part of the triple threat, the bucket shower. Sometimes the tank in our house does not have enough water in it for the pump to reach the water and pump it to the house. This is just due to there being a general lack of water in the city because of less rain. When this happens we have to go down into the tank, and lift out buckets of water for us to use to shower. Luckily there is usually a foot or two of water at the bottom of the tank that takes us awhile to go through, so we are never completely without water. And we do have a large bucket that we can take into the shower to use to bucket shower. If you think about it, this is how a large part of the world showers. The dozens of bucket showers that I have taken have definitely made me much more appreciative of when I am able to take a normal shower.
The triple threat comes into play when I have to take a bucket shower, that is always cold, and without lights. When the power goes out the pump cannot pump water to the house. This forces us to not only take a bucket shower, but also do it without lights, or with the dim light of a candle or cell phone. When these circumstances coincide, which does not happen often, I usually decide to postpone my shower until the power comes back, which is rarely more than a few hours. But sometimes when you have been sweating all day in the Honduran sun, you need to feel even just a bit cleaner, and a bucket shower can definitely do that. To be honest I was surprised with how efficient and effective it can be.
All three of these occurrences rarely coincide to make the triple threat a reality, but when they do it makes me think how much I take for granted the act of showering. At home in the United States it is something that I assume will always just be there and be convenient when I want it. After living in a developing country I realize now how precious resources like water and electricity are.