Week 9: The Shower

Bathing when I am in a new place has always been “an experience.”  In France, I did not fit in the shower because it was too short, in the States when traveling I have not been able to figure out how to even turn the shower on (Giffords). Thus, it is no surprise that Kenya has also given me “an experience.”  I moved into AEE 4 weeks ago and the shower heater was not working then. Cosmos was just using a basin that he would heat water in every morning.  I inquired if the shower was supposed to be heated and they said yes so the electrician came out and fixed it.  This led to me waking up every morning to hear Cosmos in the shower (we don’t have ceilings) saying “oh, it’s so hot!” (in a very high pitch Kenyan voice) and other high pitch remarks.  The first time this occurred I was excited to get in the shower and try out the new hotness, but when I got in, it was the same cold water.  The next few mornings I heard Cosmos saying the same remarks and thought he was just joking.  I finally asked him what his definition of “hot water” was.  We have learned we are better at showing each other what we mean than trying to explain it.  So he showed me “the way.”  The trick is that you can’t turn the shower on too much, you can only turn it until the light above your head dims because the water heater is sucking the power.  Then you know the heater is working.  This lead to hot water and me saying in the shower in a deep voice, “oh, it’s so hot!”

Shower problem number 2.
Every time you touch the knob at the end of the shower it electricutes you…for fun. I had thought of some clever ways to avoid this, but they weren’t always fool proof.  So, once again I asked Cosmos, “uh…does the shower electricute you when you touch the knob?”  (Confused look, which I take as no)  Once again back to the shower for example of how a Kenyan showers.  Turns out, the trick is that when you are done showering you must reach out the door and turn off the water heater and light and then it is usually safe to touch the knob.  So, to recap.

  1. Turn light and water heater on.
  2. Turn water knob until the light above your head dims. Make sure you choose the right temp. or you’re going to get electricuted when you touch the knob again.
  3. Shower with exclamations of “oh, it’s so hot!”
  4. Turn off water heater and light.
  5. Carefully turn off shower.

More tomorrow I hope. Thanks Cosmos.

From Maasai


5 Responses to “Week 9: The Shower”

  1. Jason November 6, 2008 at 3:34 pm #

    >I dealt with those exact issues while in Lima! But I did not have a Cosmos, unfortunately… So I was shocked in the shower a lot until I figured out the trick…

  2. BCDees November 7, 2008 at 1:27 pm #

    >I was hoping for a shower video… but, alas, no. Sounds scary.

  3. Alex November 11, 2008 at 5:23 pm #

    >Ä couple weeks ago, the Peru YAVs had our first retreat. I had been taking cold showers until then, because my host family didn’t have an electric water heater. Sean showed me the “trick” with an easy step-by-step process.1. Turn on water.2. Turn on heater.3. Shower.4. Turn off heater.5. Turn off water. Only problem is, when he taught me, the water heater was broken, and it was REALLY cold in/outside. So I ended up skipping step 3. However, Sean was a nice teacher and still gave me a passing grade for my first electric shower test. 4/5 isn’t bad.Since then, I’ve done the electric shower a couple times. And I have SUCH a strong instinct/habit to want to turn off the water as soon as I’m done showering. I always have to consiously think “no alex, wait. Get out of the shower. Turn the electricity off. Then turn the water off. Electrocution isn’t fun”

  4. Jamie November 14, 2008 at 4:07 am #

    >Lol, the shower story is so funny… Can’t wait for more!Jamie

  5. Wendy November 22, 2008 at 4:56 am #

    >So….does this mean you’ve been getting electrocuted daily for the past (how many?) weeks?

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