A random thought on bathing in Haiti

Trip Start Jan 25, 2012
Trip End Jun 30, 2012

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

I have become a master bucket bather. I know I'm not the only one of my kind in the world… millions of people bathe like this on a regular basis.  I suppose I feel accomplished because I am a westerner and come from a world where taking a shower is often a twice a day occurrence. 

I bathe in a small hut just across from the house.  The structure is divided into two small rooms, one for the toilet and buckets of water when we have some, and one for dry goods storage. 

I squat in a metal tub that looks like an oversized bowl.  Imagine 19th century paintings of bathing women.  Yup, that’s the "tub."  I use a small, green, heart shaped plastic scoop to pour water overmyself.  Kind of makes the whole experience cute, don't you think?  I’ve become quite skilled at being able to slowly pour water over one shoulder with one hand while rinsing that same side’s armpit.  It’s a newly acquired skill and it saves water like you can’t believe!

Sometimes I have water that has some Clorox added to it for disinfectant.  Sometimes its just straight up fresh spring water.  Sometimes I have a one-gallon jug full of water to get myself clean.  Sometimes I have a five-gallon bucket full to draw from, but I never use all 5 gallons… that’d be a waste.  On the days I have more than a gallon, I can use the last scoop after rinsing to pour water over the big knot of pulled back, overgrown hair I have tied up on top of my head.  It feels like standing under a waterfall after a long hike up a mountain-side.  (Wait, that’s kind of what I do here?!)  The best part is because my scalp is somewhat wet, I at least feel like I’ve washed my hair—which I really only do once a week because it uses so much more water.
Again, I realize that most human beings in the world bathe like this once or twice a week and I’m just a temporarily clean, happy blan who wanted to share a small accomplishment in living in rural Haiti with you.   My point is, please do not take that shower for granted.  And think about how many gallons you use to get yourself “clean!”
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favoritte ex student on

I had to shower this way in india. My aunt still does in the states! The best part was that last cup of water to pour over yourself giving that waterfall feel :). I'm glad you've mastered the technique.

javanutpaul on

way to adapt shannon!
you didn't mention that the water is not heated :)

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