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Rachel is NOT a whiner. So she rolls up her sleeves and deals with the water issues which are a part of life in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras.

Here’s how it works.

There is a water schedule. Rachel and Brandy can count on their water coming on at midnight, every other night. It is on from midnight until about 8am, then it goes off again, for the rest of the two days.

Rachel and Brandy don’t start running the water at midnight, because they’re already asleep by then, and also because the water coming into the pipes is noisy. Rachel gets up early the next morning, and starts collecting water in the pila.

A pila is a water storage and washing area, combined. Here’s a photo of Rachel’s pila:

This is a rather small, rough version of a pila, and it doubles as the bathroom sink, as it is located inside the bathroom. The bottom part is for water storage. The area at the top left is where Rachel washes her laundry. The dirty laundry from the washing area drains out, not into the clean stored water.

Every other morning, Rachel gets up very early and fills up her pila, and also fills a clean, lidded trashcan that she and Brandy keep for water storage. More well-to-do homes would have a large water storage tank on the roof, but homes in this price range have to make do with their pila.

While the water is coming in, Rachel hurries to wash her laundry and dishes, mop her floor, and take a (cold) shower. The goal is to have all of those completed, and still have her pila and trashcan full of water, when the water supply turns off!

Rachel told me that sometimes, toward the end of the second day, they have to make difficult choices about what they’ll use their dwindling water for. Flushing the toilet has been known to trump taking a shower at that point in time.

This water is NOT their drinking water, by the way. Just like other places in Honduras, the tap water isn’t considered safe for drinking, so Rachel and Brandy purchase 5 gallon jugs of purified water for their drinking water. As far as I know, there isn’t a shortage of drinking water.