Monday, September 19, 2011

The Infamous Bucket Bath

Practically every Peace Corps Volunteer, at least in Africa, has to figure out how to manage a bucket bath or shower.  It has the same amount of water in as let's say, a water balloon party, and if my memory serves me well, water balloons are an easier way get wet and a lot more fun!  My first day of training started on Monday, so after not showering for a few days for a variety of reasons, I thought I would be very clever and take a real shower while the folks were at a church meeting on Sunday.  Excellent, I see with my very eyes that there is a regular bath tub and a hand held shower spout.  All my materials are waiting for them to leave and they will never know the difference if I took a real shower or a bucket shower.  I feel like Lucy and Ethel up to bad tricks, though more often than not, the trick backfires on Lucy, and it is the same for me.  I go to the bath, and lo and behold, no water.  WHAAAT!  My plan fails!  When my host mom comes home, I ask her what's up with the water, and she tells me that we often don't have water on Sundays.  Well, how about Mondays?  Maybe?  Sometimes we go without for a week!  Great!  I'll go to my first training day looking like Ethel, but mom assures me that she will wake up at 5am, put water in the bucket to heat up from the outside, and will wake me at 6am.  OK, we're on!  At 6am I get the wake up call and she said it will be ready soon, but reminds me she is going for her daily walk, and that I will be on my own.  Well, I don't exactly need a mom to help me bath do I?   I meditate and pray that my day goes well, hop up, and venture to see if there is water to take that real shower---No such luck, still no water!  My mom had taught me exactly what to do--take my bucket that the PC gave me and put cold water in it, heat another bucket and pour a little at a time into the bathtub, pour the bucket filled with cold water so it isn't so hot, get in and do my thing.  Not hard to take a bath in ankle deep water, but on this day I am a bit nervous about my first day of PC training, and getting bit by a mosquito last night.  So I decide to cut corners to save time and try to pick up the big heated bucket to pour into bath tub not realizing it is so heavy.  Of course the thing drops and half spills out all over my only towel and slippers, so now my bath is only toe deep.  I save a little water to rinse over my head, but this is not funny, and now I am praying she doesn't walk in and see this, or better yet, try to plug the bucket in and get electrocuted.  Yesterday, I watched mom give my 6 year old sister, Kesego, a bath in a little old fashioned steel bucket outside, and start to wonder why I can't fit in there too!  It would be so nice to be scrubbed down and have my hair washed by someone, but no, I am an adult-- a Peace Corps Trainee, and I don't need a mom to bathe me!  Finally it is over, my dirty feet are clean, my hair is washed, the floor is cleaned with my only towel, and I run to my room naked, with my bucket in front of my private parts.  This Peace Corps thing is so much fun, and just think, I made it out of here without anyone in the family seeing the mess I made, and not looking like Ethel after all!  I dried off with a hand towel, dressed up, only to find my new mom in the kitchen making me breakfast, packing me a lunch for my first day as a PCV, and asking how my bath went!  It was a piece of cake mom, I can't wait to do it again tomorrow!

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