Monday, April 22, 2013

Bucket Bathing 101

Well, after 7 weeks in country, I can now say I am a master bucket bather. The majority of this country does not have consistent running water. Or any, for that matter. When I was living in Santo Domingo, I think water came out of the faucet three times in 3 weeks. In this case, people buy water and store it in a large tank, using a pump to make it reach the faucets. In my current situation, our bathroom is not attached to the house. It’s not a latrine, just an outdoor toilet and shower space.  My family can collect water from the water source twice a week: on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Large oil drums or plastic bins are used for water storage, as well as every other available container.


My steps and strategies to bathing:


  1. Remove empty bucket from bathroom and take to water bin to fill. I use one full bucket. Fill bucket with water using the smaller jar.
  2. Carefully carry full bucket into bathroom and do my very best not to spill any.
  3.  Prepare. The bucket and I usually have a ten-second stare down before I begin. I must test the water temperature so I have an idea as to what I can expect. In the morning it’s always cold because it’s been sitting outside all night. If it’s mid morning or afternoon it’s a little warmer because the bins are in the sun. I’m in training all day during the week so I can either shower in the morning, which means cold or at night when there’s no power. Showering in the dark is not easy and I’d rather see any creepy crawlies that are trying to shower with me J
  4. Hold breath and begin. I usually hyperventilate for a few seconds after my first douse. Use smaller jar to splash water and wash body. I must use as little water as possible for this step because the bulk of it is for my hair.
  5. Wet hair, lather, and rinse. I actually put a little conditioner in with my shampoo lather in order to have to only rinse one time.
  6. Finish was soon as possible because its coollddddddddddd.


Future PCVS- Bring shower flip-flops. They are 100% necessary.


I know when I first learned this is what I would be doing I was convinced that I would not get clean, nor would I be able to look nice. So, if that’s what you’re thinking to yourself…totally not the case. I’m def clean AND I feel extremely efficient for doing it with one bucket.


BONUS: Bucket flushing. That’s right. We have a toilet…but without running water you can’t flush. Before doing your business, you make sure you have some water to flush. Usually about 1/3 of a bucket will do. When you’re ready to flush you start slow and then aim the stream at the hole and stand back. I know it sounds like this would never work, but trust me it does!


Some of you reading this are horrified, I’m sure. The thing is, the inconsistent electricity and cold showers are two of the easiest things to get used to. Why? Because they are two things you know will always be there. They are consistent. Funny how that works, huh?!

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