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Friday, September 20, 2013

Local Woman Excited to Shower Tonight for First Time in a Week

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 3:20 PM

click to enlarge Doniece Sandoval after five days without a shower - COURTESY OF DONIECE SANDOVAL
  • Courtesy of Doniece Sandoval
  • Doniece Sandoval after five days without a shower

Doniece Sandoval is dirty. She hasn't showered in a week. Her body itches all over, and she says her scalp feels gross.

So you can only imagine how much she's looking forward to midnight tonight when Sandoval will hop in the shower, officially ending her week-long experiment of not bathing.

"Today is my final day of the no-shower challenge," said Sandoval. "I'm counting down the minutes."

See Also: S.F. Homeless Residents Can Finally Take a Shower ... on Muni

Sandoval embarked on the filthy adventure attempting to get a sense of what it's like to be homeless and without a place to shower. She pledged not to bathe for a week, only allowing herself to use public facilities to clean up.

During her no-shower challenge, Sandoval would use outside bathrooms at grocery stores to clean up. She would wipe herself down using body wipes. It was freezing and incredibly uncomfortable. She said it got most the grime off, but she still felt dirty.

"It was really hard," Sandoval admitted, adding that using public showers were not realistic with her busy work and family schedule. "It might have been difficult for me, but not half of what people on the street deal with. I still can go home -- I have a place to go."

Sandoval headed up the Lava Mae project with the mission to convert old, donated Muni buses into mobile showers, giving the city's homeless residents a place to take a clean shower.

There's roughly 3,000 homeless residents in San Francisco, yet the city only has eight public showers to accommodate them, Sandoval said.

Using the crowd-funding website Indiegogo.com, Lava Mae has been asking for donors who believe in the cause to help her raise $75,000 for the mobile showers. So far, she's raised $45,000, however she only has 16 days left to reach the goal.

"The great responses we've got have been unbelievably inspiring," said Sandoval.

By the way, during her no-shower challenge, only one person took note of her smell: Her 6-year-old daughter. During breakfast one morning, Sandoval walked in the room while her daughter was eating.

"My daughter said 'what smells'," Sandoval said laughing. "I guess she has a really good nose."


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Brian Rinker

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