Starting Every Day with a Cold Shower: Philippines Bathroom Situation

Many of you have asked me about the bathrooms, the kitchens and the water situation here in the Philippines during my three month Kiva Fellowship. These are two huge topics I encounter every day. I wanted to share with you quick video I made that is a bathroom walk-through from the Laguna Central Branch where I spent this past weekend with other Ahon sa Hirap, Inc. staff members. Each week and weekend, I’m usually at a different branch office for the microfinance institution I’m working for. Each branch has a set of dorm rooms the development officers, account officer and branch manager sleep in and they graciously host me.

(Side note, I could try in some places to find a hotel or hostel to check into, but I realized very early on I gained a lot more information and bonding time when I stayed in the branch with everyone and as such my experience is incredibly authentic).

A few points, I didn’t mention in this video:

Low and behold, it seems like they are. And who else has happened to write about this than my friend at Slacker Reform. According to Slacker Reform:

There are many health benefits associated with cold showers: 1. Increases blood flow to your organs and circulation throughout your body. 2. Helps eliminate toxins from the body due to increased circulation and contraction of the muscles. 3. Increases your white blood cell count. 4. Boosts your immune system by strengthening mucous membranes. 5. Gives you healthier hair by closing the cuticle in a similar manner to your skin. 6. Gives you better looking skin by constricting the blood vessels and reducing swelling. 7. Makes your body acclimate faster to cold temperatures keeping you warmer.

** I took the 30-day challenge and succeeded!** Granted more than 30 days and maybe it was a slight “stretching of the rules” since I don’t have hot water available to turn off.

I’m happy to be having this experience and challenge. There were days when it was INTENSE - like when I was sick and on antibiotics and dying for hot shower - or when you’re so tired and just want a hot shower before bed. That used to be one of my favorites. Yet, you have to keep going and the crazy thing is it just starts to become normal. A part of everyday life. That’s when I feel like I’m winning in the battle between my entire Westernized upbringing and my current life here.

**I’m not only accepting it - I’m ok with it - I’m embracing it - it’s everyday life. **

But let me through the gauntlet down, if I can do it, you can do it too! Challenge yourself. Oh it’s hard. Trust me, I know. But try a cold water shower - jump in, do what you gotta do and jump out! Not that bad, right?

I’d love to be posting more about how to conserve water and next steps on what to do when the Cold Water Challenge stops - so be on the lookout for that at another time. If you have any other tips to share on the benefits of cold water showers, please post them or anything else you want to share in the comments section!

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