Sunday, April 20

Mr. Maintenance

Well, the students' bathrooms at the school of ministry are nearly finished!!! Yeah!!! Last week Doug installed the shower heads and, as promised, here's the story of the Sinaloa hot shower...

Water in our village comes to our homes via pipes from a nearby city which has a well. The water doesn't run all the time, so most everyone has a cistern on their property to hold water. The water runs from the city's pipes into the cistern and then is pumped to big, black water tanks, called tinacos, on the roof. From these tanks, water flows through the house's pipes by gravity. Very simple system, and very handy in a place where the electricity is sometimes hit-and-miss. During the summer months, the water sitting in those black plastic tanks gets very warm. So warm, in fact, that sometimes we long for that refreshing well water we used to get in Oregon! In mid December and January, however, taking a shower in the morning is sometimes a little...brisk!

It is possible to install pressurized hot-water systems here, but they aren't too terribly dependable. It's sort of a new concept, so finding someone who knows what they're doing and will do it correctly is a challenge. Not to mention that the pressurized system has a couple of drawbacks: one being the cost and another being the whole "unreliable electricity" issue. Lightning and wind may come and go, but gravity is forever.

So how can a person get a hot shower without a water heater? Well, have you ever seen the little doo-hickey that is made to heat your coffee by sticking a heating element into the cup? Apparently someone took that idea and ran with it. Obviously, it could never be marketed in the US; this thing is a lawsuit waiting to happen! But it is quite the technological breakthrough!
OK. Red is hot and green is ground...what if they're all white?

Grabbing electricity from the bathroom light.Don't forget to tape off the bare wires in the shower.Finished product!

Of course, it's a good idea to test the shower when you're finished connecting the electricity to make sure you've got it well-grounded. If you don't have a good ground, the wet person standing in the puddle of water and grabbing the metal handle to turn off the faucet becomes the ground.

So, Doug tested the ground the most accurate way possible... Grounded!

I can't count the number of times we've joked and shaken our heads at this set-up! It's crazy, but here is that "cultural adaptation" idea in action again!!!

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