Saturday, August 09, 2008

Another look at life here.

Here is a quick video of our pila. (And a photo of someone else's pila!) A pila is like a guatemalan washer and kitchen sink in one. It is concrete (although more recently plastic for those who have their pila on the 2nd floor or higher) and normally painted a bright color. In some communities, there are large fountian looking things that serve as the communal pila. Here in Xela, most everyone has a kitchen sink, but they still use the pila to wash their clothes. You can see in the photo that most pilas have 3 compartments, one for washing dishes (usually flat), one in the middle for holding "clean" water, and a third for washing clothes (usually a washboard style with ridges.) It is important not to contaminate the "clean" water. Even though is is full of bacteria, amoebas and parasites, you are not to get any dirt in the water. You use a little bowl to retrieve water out of the middle to wash and rinse.

You don't have to go very rural to see people use these for their sink. If someone is very poor, they either use the community's pila, or they go down to a stream or river to wash clothes. Some churches in rural areas have a pila like this one for their members to use.

B/c we have a normal kitchen, our pila is just a half pila, for washing clothes. We also have a washer and dryer, but we use the pila for washing out diapers, shoes, and towels and rags that get used everyday. It is THE BEST at getting out stains. Enjoy the little video.


Anonymous said...

The washboard looks like metal. Doesn't it rust?

Wow. Looks like hard work. We are blessed here.

Brandon and Jenny said...

It's concrete! The paint just wears off quickly. Incredible isn't it! It is heard work, and I only know 1 Guatemalan couple that has a washer and dryer. Everyone else uses this to wash their clothes. But it really is awesome for getting yucky things out of clothes (puke, mud, poop, etc).

Anonymous said...

What an adventure!