Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Why is there a bathing cubicle in the kitchen-dining area in your daughter's house in El Salvador? a friend asks.

Because that's where the water is--the water for cooking, drinking, cleaning, and bathing.
There is no indoor plumbing in the houses in her village.
Water is turned on every other day by whomever it is that owns the water, and it runs for an hour into the hoses that fill the troughs. (The hoses are always turned on.)
People who can't afford water walk down a very steep hill to the river, then bathe, wash their clothes, chat with the other women who are bathing and doing laundry, and then carry their drinking water in pitchers--on their heads--back to their homes. The river is thick with mud at this time of year because it's the rainy season, and the hills are so steep, the rainwater washes the dirt away, dirt which is heavily fertilized by the farmers . . .

Is the water that runs into the houses treated?

I don't know. It's clear. But it's not safe for me to drink. The last time I was there, mosquitoes had laid their eggs in the trough. There were little red worms in the water. The women tossed in some white powder to kill the worms.

Do people get sick a lot?

Yes. Some Peace Corps volunteers get sick. Others, like my daughter, don't get sick any more than folks do in this country . . .

1 comment:

Erin O'Brien said...

I have been thinking about we overfed, over-privileged Americans and our overblown sense of entitlement quite a lot lately.

This series of posts is amazing. Thanks.