1) Bathing with water from above
I have always taken for granted the ability to turn a knob, pull another knob and watch water immediately come out of a showerhead. I took it so far as to complain about the water pressure if it wasn't what I preferred. Before we left for the DR we were informed that some of us would be living in houses where bucket baths are necessary because they don't have running water or it is necessary to conserve what little they do have. A bucket bath involves using a bucket or trash can to scoop water out of and dump over yourself, or splash over your body to get wet. It's very tricky to conserve water this way AND get your entire body wet. Feeling an ability to be flexible, I looked forward to this possibility as part of my experience in this country. I did end up in a house where bucket baths are the norm. As of today I have taken three non-bucket "baths" or "showers". I use this word lightly because the times that there is water running through the pipes, it's the smallest trickle that isn't enough to get my hair wet, and thus my roommate and I help each other wash our hair every day, running water or not. For the first few weeks I took pride in the fact that we were experiencing the "roughest" bathing situation of our group, but I soon realized that I would be okay if this part of the experience suddenly changed. Where I would usually scoff at the thought of trying to bathe in the trickle lacking any sort of "pressure", I now am ecstatic on the days when I realize the water has been turned on and I can let the water fall on me rather than awkwardly splashing myself. My whole day looks brighter because of this small luxury.
It's not common to eat a lot of vegetables here. Even though our families are encouraged to serve us some kind of vegetable or salad, it's rare to see it on the table. Lunch was a dream come true today as we sat down and saw a plate with lettuce, tomatoes, and broccoli ready for consumption! We had been talking this morning about cravings for broccoli and spinach and the like and we felt the hand of God in something as small as a plate with broccoli for lunch. I specifically thanked Him for it as we prayed before eating. :-)
If I had been at the Tower of Babel when the languages were confused I would've booked it outta there too! I hit a point last night almost to tears as I realized how hard it was for my brother to understand the sentences that I work so hard to form when we're talking. Communication does more than allow relationships to flourish and teams to be effective. It allows us to simply be social - have fellowship. I'm now very aware of the fact that I can get together with other members of our team and hang out without having to think about every word we say before it comes out. Even so, I'm amazed to see the way relationships can still be built (with my family) even with a lack of communication. We are still able to get to know each others personalities and little by little become aware of likes and dislikes.
At least once a day the TV will go black, the fans will turn off, and our room will become pitch black. More than once we have eaten dinner by candlelight - very romantic - or been informed that laundry will have to wait because the washer won't work without electricity. The minute the electricity is turned back on it is met with a chorus of voices shouting "Luz!!!" and smiles all around. Living here creates an infinite appreciation for simply the option of seeing what's happening around you 24 hours a day.
You've seen a picture of the mosquito nets we have to sleep with. Even forgetting to tuck in a small portion of the net will result in many bites when you awaken in the morning. Windows are opened and closed by folding a set of wooden slats up or down in order to have privacy or keep out some rain, but as you may expect, bugs are tricky guys and they find their way in through the windows or the doors that are open all day.
7) Flushing every time I go to the bathroom
As I mentioned before, water conservation is something to constantly think about in our home and one way to do this is to only flush the toilet if you go #2...enough said.