What Happened to my Hot Water?

Michelle Okafor
3 min readAug 20, 2022
Photo by Joshua Lanzarini on Unsplash

I just read something on Twitter that was quite disturbing. In an attempt to save money a couple was using their bath water to cook. I had to read it twice to check if I got it right. Something must be wrong. How did we get here?

Well, they did warn us that the deadliest fights will be fought over such a basic thing as water. Let’s appreciate what we have. This took me back to a time when I went on an educational trip to one of our national parks as one of the newly appointed reservations agents.

It was a week-long trip and I was looking so forward to it, having packed my bags a week before already. I was part of a group of about 10 staff members from different departments and most of them were more senior than the few newly appointed reservations agents including me. We took a domestic flight of about 2h30 mins and landed in a small town about an hour from the park. The transfer vehicle collected us from the airport and took us to our accommodation.

We had a lovely meal in the restaurant that evening and we were all looking forward to the week filled with activities like early morning drives, sunset picnics, birdwatching trips, star gazing and many more. We set our alarms to get up very early for our first sunrise game drive. My alarm went off the next morning and I made sure I will have time for a quick shower before we needed to gather at the meeting point.

I rushed into the bathroom and turned on the shower waiting for the water to get hot. And I waited and waited. All that came out was cold water. I thought that must be a mistake, perhaps there is a switch or lever I have to press. I couldn’t find anything. There I was butt naked, running out of time, and the water is not getting hot. I was getting very annoyed. I decided that, well, they talk about the benefits of cold showers and if I don’t jump in now I’m going to be late.

I made sure everyone was aware of just how annoyed I was with not having any hot water that morning. My face was long the whole trip and I thought, you guys bring me here, away from the comfort of my home and can’t even ensure someone has the basic necessities like hot water. It was only years later that it dawned on me how selfish I was. How entitled I was to think that everyone must bend over backwards to my needs, just because I was used to having hot water at home.

I didn’t realise that that was a luxury and some people never get to experience the privilege of having indoor plumbing, let alone hot water. As I read more and more that people who have been used to heating their apartments in winter and basic amenities such as running water now have to cut down because they simply cannot afford it. I think that must be so hard, that you can’t heat your apartment in winter and maybe you can take one bath a week.

For those of us who still have these basic amenities at our disposal and we can still afford to cover the bills, let’s always remember those who have to go without. Don’t be arrogant, don’t be boastful and most of all, don’t be entitled. For there are more important things in life.

I have lived through much, and now I think I have found what is needed for happiness. A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good and who are not accustomed to having it done for them; then works which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.

- Tolstoy

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Michelle Okafor

Writer of short, inspirational pieces. Make the most of your time here, for we pass this way only once. See the good in yourself and others.