A bright and beautiful sunrise on one side and quite dark and gloomy on the other is my advantage point over Kampala this morning (2 weeks ago). Luckily this doesn’t reflect my state of being as well.
I wanted to pick up on the strange and unique perspectives after having a hot shower the other day. I have had many hot showers in the past and not all of them have had the same significance as this hot shower.
First of all I didn’t know it was going to be hot, secondly it was my first hot shower in over three months (not that I wasn’t showering in that time just that I had cold showers like the majority of the population in Uganda and Africa) and thirdly it represented the wide chasm that I feel between the developing world and the developed world.
Now before you think that I am about to bang on about equality, justice, bla bla bla… It is actually the opposite. To me it represented so much wrong with the developed world and just how many unnecessary finite resources we use and with the abundance that we use them.
So as is per most of my blogs I am either hitting you with the equality moral bat or as in this case with the abundance guilt bat! However that is not the purpose and I will illustrate what it means to me and how I choose to live in my own skin and maybe a few splinters from that bat will infect your lives if it fits…
I won’t say that I did not enjoy my hot shower – in fact I was giggling like a school girl and having nostalgic flashbacks of 4 months ago when hot showering was the norm. But after my shower I realized how unnecessary it is to wash in hot water everyday and how ridiculous that must seem to the Ugandan’s I live with.
I think the some of the most ridiculous words I’ve heard in the past are – ‘I need a long hot shower in the morning to wake me up’ to me this is kind of like saying I need to chop down a few trees, pollute a river and go blow up a mountain because I am more important that anyone or anything else on the planet (exaggeration included). Plus there would be no better way to wake up in the morning than to have a cold shower!
There have been many occasions and places where I have relied on cold showering including in my Happy, simply home in Aotearoa New Zealand. Yes there are cold places but there are plenty of poor people who live in cold places and still manage to wash themselves adequately with cold water or the occasional special occasion with warm water. After the initial shock of cold showering for the first few times you get used to it incredibly quickly.
Here are some of the benefits I see from a limited water source (bucket) cold showering:
- only need maximum 10-15L of water
- build resilience, compassion, appreciation, understanding and resolve for the world and the resources of water – cold showering becomes a luxury because you are appreciative to have the water you do have to do it – especially if you are fetching that water
- feel invigorated for the next hour and if you need a shower to wake yourself up then this is the way to do it!
- be cleaner – cold showering requires wetting yourself, deep scrubbing every corner (usually with a strong scrubber of some kind) and a quick rinse
- be respecting the finite resources of the planet and not only softening your footprint on the earth but actually living within the confines of it
- making a real, significant and direct impact on the world – far more than recycling or ethical purchases or being someone who ‘cares’ about the environment
- be using coal, gas or other forms of limited resources (other than water) to wash yourself
- wasting water at a rate of around 9L / minute (for a low-flow shower head) and 15-22L / minute for a regular shower
- be a part of the pollution but instead be an active part of the solution
I know I am taking huge self-appointed moral high ground here and totally based on forced circumstances but at least I have experiences that often teach me a lot.
Today most of the world will have no shower or a cold shower, and most not from a direct water source (tap in the house). I was forced to have cold showers and forced to like them. But now I see chosen cold showering another one of those small but significant habits that has a direct and lovely impact on the environment, equality and most of all my own happiness and well-being (Happy, simply).
So the chance anyone in the western world is going to choose to cold shower everyday based on this blog is about ZERO; I would encourage people to try a bucket shower of cold water to see just how little water you need to wash yourself and how appreciative you will be of other people and the environment after that experience.
Don’t worry I know I will have hot showers again in the future… but probably not as many 😉
Next episode compost toilets… watch out!