...Santa came early this year! Last night, Shri had a small water heater, called a geyser, installed in the family bathroom. Hot water was the one comfort from home I secretly wished for. Someone must have been listening. I can adapt to just about anything, but ice cold showers when it's less than 45 degrees outside in a home without heat is a bit too invigorating. However, having a shower at all is the least of problems for many of the people we see here. A rugged looking but gentle woman named Swashiela comes to clean here every day. She lives in the slum we visited yesterday and requested a sweater for Christmas as she does not own one. We went shopping for one today but could not even locate one at the local market. The temperatures reached 4.7 deg C (40 deg F) last night. Twenty-six people have died over the past couple of days in Delhi from hypothermia. My host father is frustrated that the government did not do more to help them, but then acknowledged that if people were given temporary shelter they would never leave.
Showers here are not like showers at home. In most of the homes I have seen here, water is poured out of a faucet into a bucket from which a person scoops water to bathe by hand. There is no tub or shower curtain, just some extra space next to the toilet. It's a messy way to bathe, but as long as it's hot you won't find me complaining.