It's snowing here in Juarez. It's been snowing for a few hours now and it's pretty impossible to forget last year's winter. We had no heater, I was inventing crap in the house alone to stay warm. Maybe you remember the rice sock? I sure do! I swear it was colder because my husband was working second shift and I was all by my lonesome every night. I think there is much to be said about body heat.
There were nights that were so cold, ice formed on the walls inside and I was compelled to call my mother asking such things as, "How do you know it's cold enough, that you just won't wake up?" I know this may sound silly and exaggerated to some in the Northern US, but when houses aren't equipped for such cold, it makes a big difference. There is no insulation in the homes in Juarez and pipes are buried mere inches beneath the Earth, if not above ground. At one point we spent 8 days in a row without running water and a few without electricity.
And so this year, with a husband working days and an old-school heater in the mix, I feel disgustingly grateful. We purchased this 20 year old Solmatic gas heater for 250 pesos.
I really thought it was older based on the looks and mechanics of it, but after some Googling, I see that it's from about 1992. Yes, we had to purchase a carbon monoxide detector, and no we cannot have it on while we sleep, but this is a HUGE improvement from last year. I am only wearing 2 sweaters as I type this.
And so I get to what this post is really about. A couple of years ago, prior to moving to Juarez, I read that some 30% of the inhabitants of this city do not have access to running water, electricity or gas. I am assuming the majority of this statistic come from the outskirts and areas such as Anapra. I don't know the validity of the statistic (then or now) but after living here for over a year, it doesn't sound far-fetched. Now that I have seen such things, and experienced such a winter, how can I not feel eternally grateful for the warmth I feel in this moment?
Even in the midst of my misery last year, I was in a far, far better situation than many, if not most of the people in this world. I cannot imagine how the people of Anapra and other colonias of the like are fairing tonight with this weather. I hope and pray that they are okay. And for all of my blessings, I would like to thank God. I would like to thank Him for my situation and for the lessons I have learned in this experience. I do not regret a single second of this new life, and I wouldn't take back a thing.