East-African Aquatic Widow-Maker


so sensible

UK regulations forbid electrical outlets in a bathroom, and lights have a pull-cord so you don’t even physically touch the switch 

so very resonable

If there is an outlet, it’s a special shaver-only outlet with a small dedicated transformer built into it with restrictions on its power use, and it only outputs a few volts. 

In much of North America, the rules dictate light switches can’t be close to a tub, shower, or sink, and all outlets have to be GFCI protected.

safety through technology

Ground Fault Circuit Interruption means outlets constantly monitor the electricity flowing in and out. If there is suddenly less coming back (like you dropped your hairdryer in the sink – and you created a fault where you and the sink are now the ground) it will instantly shut off the circuit. Those 110 volts should stop before they do real damage.

In many other places I’ve lived and traveled, light switches should be far enough you can’t reach them from the tub, and try to keep outlets away from the sink.

Everyone knows that electricity and water don’t mix.

Then there is Kenya with its electrical shower heater that is mounted RIGHT ON THE SHOWER HEAD. That’s right, 220v right there in the shower with you. They’re everywhere. You would think at the very least if you were to put an electrical appliance in the shower, you’d protect the electric wires with a few meters of water-proof tubing so the connection would be made well outside the shower. Nope. Pretty much everyone I’ve seen has like 5cm of wire, meaning there is an OPEN LIVE ELECTRICAL connection right there.

yes….this is our shower

On top of that, often they are literally grounded ONTO the metal shower pipe (see above). So now, all you have to do to become the Ground Fault (with zero Circuit Interruption) is splash a bit on your shower. Seems like there’s a pretty good chance of that. Guess that’s why they’re called ‘widow makers.’ I’m convinced the Swahili word for ‘shower’ actually translates as “prepare to meet your maker.”

see…..220v outlet and switch a solid 5cm outside the shower. 

On top of this…not that it matters at this point – but it seems you can put outlets wherever you want, just keep them out of the shower itself because they won’t work well there.

Why this story? (besides – if you don’t hear from me you’ll know what happened)

When we move from one context to another, things change. Move to a new country, get a new job, marry into a new family, join a new church. These things all have distinct cultures in them. They have their own ways of doing things. A new job often means differences in what you do, how you do it, and what tools you have access to. A new family means celebrating holidays differently than all you have known your whole life. A new church may mean a key community you used to belong to is now gone from your life.

Sometimes we lose our contentment because something we used to have is gone. Or we have some additional difficulty. But this discontentment often comes from comparison. Comparing one job/church/family/country to another never helps. We need to accept that as we move through life, things change, and we don’t always appreciate those changes right away. 

Maybe to experience contentment, you need to just stop comparing what you have, what you are doing, who you are with right now with memories of the past. I can dream of my electricity-free showers in other places I’ve lived, but that’s not where I live now. I am here, and I will never find true, deep contentment if I constantly dreaming of what used to be. 


What do you miss? From an old house, old friendship, old job, old whatever? 

Name that thing you miss. Is it the great backyard, the way they always knew how you felt, the Fridays off? Name it.

If you need to …grieve its loss. If it is an actual loss. 

Now move on. Accept where you are – and remember you are called to find contentment “in all circumstances.”


God of all things,
all places, all times.
Give me strength to accept what I have now.
Give me grace to find the good in where I am now.
Give me eyes to see the great things around me now.