How do families living in poverty stay cool during summer?
As the weather temperatures keep climbing in Kansas City, we’re taking note of the creative and ingenious ways that sponsored children and their families beat the heat!
1) Using hammocks (El Salvador)
In Sonsonate, one of the hottest places in El Salvador, the average temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius).
During the summer season, sponsored friends like to take naps during the day and sleep in hammocks at night.
They feel less heat in their hammocks than in their beds. They also say it’s more comfortable sleeping in a hammock in the back yard with the fresh air.
Hammocks come in many sizes, materials and colors.
In the case of Nancy, who was sponsored as a child through CFCA, her hammock is made of nylon string and was woven by a relative.
Whenever the weather gets hot, or when Nancy is tired after coming home from school (which is 13 blocks from her house), she takes a nap for a few minutes in her hammock.
There’s one important tip that Nancy’s cousin, Dinora, wants to share: Never run to the hammock and look very carefully before sitting on the hammock.
Dinora remembers one story so well that she can’t stop laughing when she tells it. One day Nancy was running to sit with her grandmother, who was in the hammock.
She ran so fast that the hammock flipped around, and both fell down!
2) Drinking coconut water (India)
Coconut water is a popular drink during summertime in India.
It gives immediate relief from the heat and keeps people cool. It works like a tonic for elderly and sick people and helps them avoid heat stroke.
Coconuts are widely available in India, especially in the south.
The price for the coconut is also extremely affordable. According to the breed and variety, the rate ranges from approximately 18 to 45 cents USD (10-25 Indian rupees).
The summer temperature in Hyderabad is around 105 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius).
In this situation, coconut water is the best remedy to escape from the heat.
Personal note from Sreekanth, CFCA communications liaison in India: “Last year when I felt sick because of heat stroke, my mother gave me coconut water as a home remedy. At that time, I used to drink more than five coconuts a day. Those helped me recover quickly. Now I drink coconut water whenever I feel sick.”
3) Visiting the beach (Guatemala)
If families live near the sea or a river, they enjoy swimming and having a good time together. For them, it’s the best way to beat the heat.
On especially hot days, children and their parents will go to the seaside multiple times in a day. They love playing all day with their family and friends!
4) Building a shade (Kenya)
June and July are actually the coldest months of the year in Kenya.
However, when the weather is very hot during other months, families will construct makeshift shelters for some quick shade.
Eva, the mother of sponsored child Victor in Kenya, writes that during her workday in the fields she will often build a shade and work underneath it.
“We usually build a shade using materials like grass, makuti (reeds) or even an iron sheet,” she wrote.
5) Using saris as head covers (India)
Not only are saris beautiful to wear, but they are also extremely practical in hot temperatures.
They’re lightweight and made of a single piece of fabric such as cotton, silk, polyester or nylon.
A common practice in India is for women to slip a portion of their saris over their heads to protect themselves from the hot sun.
Aneta Mazurkiewicz, a CFCA sponsor who went on a 2012 mission awareness trip to south India, demonstrates this time-honored technique in the photo to the right!
Interested in how to wear these saris? See our “How to wrap a sari” video.
Have you ever asked your sponsored child or aging friend how they keep cool during the summer? If not, it might make a great topic for your next letter!