Although I am normally trying to conserve batteries, I need to use part of my computer battery to test the solar power system I am trying to set up, so I thought I would share a bit about the evolution of my shower â€˜roomâ€™.
My shower room is found in the area behind my house, next to the kitchen. It has three and a half walls that go up to about mid-neck level on me. My first summer here and part of the second summer, the fourth wall was completed by placing a wrap (saraong / sulu / piece of fabric) over the piece of wood that balanced on top of the wall. The bucket that had the water necessary for the shower was then placed against wrap on the side where I stood while partaking of the shower. This system generally worked well to hide my white body.
I say generally because there were several times that this system failed me when we had slightly stronger winds. One night in particular it must have been after 9pm, and although there was little moon, the stars were brilliant. Two girls that live in the other half of the â€˜duplexâ€™ were sitting outside. The first time that the piece of wood fell (and with it, the wrap) and I scrambled to keep myself decent and replace the wood (and the wrap), I thought I heard the girls trying to contain laughter. It would be too rude to laugh aloud about the situation. The second time, they had to try a little harder to keep it in. An unprecedented third time, I gave up with a loud: â€œImpossible câ€™est soire!â€ and there was no containing the laughter of all three of us.
Shortly after that I had the brilliant idea of buying some nails and using some of my rope to make a line that, while the wrap could still blow in the wind, would not be precariously balanced, and therefore would not fall. Sitting on top of the wall I was reminded why apparently simple tasks take so much longer than anticipated here: In places, the wall wanted to crumble, and in other places it was impenetrable. Perseverance paid off though, and I had my line.
This year, there was yet another brilliant idea from my colleague, IA: place a straw mat on top of the line. Although it moves some in the breeze, it is a significant improvement over using the wrap. Besides, I now have one less thing to carry to the shower room.
About to sign off, I realize that I might need to clarify for some readers why my Beninoise friends had not already made such modifications. You see, a wrap moving, or even nonexistent, is only an issue when we have a full moon and there is no need for flashlight outside at all. Otherwise, their bodies absorb the light and they disappear into the night. If you want to understand how well a white body reflects the light, look at a white t-shirt in a fairly dark room, or just look up at the moon.