Friday, February 25, 2011

Water Woes

Bathroom Water Woes

Since I have been living in Samoa, I have gotten used to the fact that I will not always have running water. Running water is truly a luxury that I have always taken for granted. When I first moved to Savai’i, I avoided showering with a bucket and would only try to shower when the water taps were on. (This made it truly limiting.)

But after about a week, I gave in, and used the barrel of water and a bowl to shower. I learned it wasn’t too bad to do, and actually quite nice, as you don’t have a constant stream of cold water on you.

Then, I became more “daring”, and began showering outside when it was raining. I learned that showering in the rain gives you great water pressure that is not available in the entire country. When you shower in the rain, you never have to worry about wasting water, since it is always coming down from the gutters at a great speed.

A few weeks ago, my water situation became worse. The water is now on for about an hour in the morning from 5-6am, and at night from 10-12 at night. Sometimes it is on less than that. The barrel we keep in the bathroom full of water, cannot always be filled because of the limited water schedule. I have learned that using water for flushing the toilets is more important than using water to bathe inside.

I didn’t want to be the smelly kid, so I decided my only option was to become more Samoan and shower outside. Like most Samoan families we have a water tank outside, so I decided to learn how to shower using that.

I first wrap myself in a lavalava, and go outside. At the water tank you can hear the neighbors cooking their meals, pigs running by, roosters crowing and the villagers playing rugby. You can also see them, so one can only guess that they can easily see you. I used to get nervous about my lavalava falling down, but I feel like I have become a professional at tying it for showering.

I then find a little bucket that is easy to lift up, and fill it with water from the tank. I lift it over my head and that is my shower. Add some soap and shampoo, and it is amazing how clean you can actually get from these showers.

The part that I still struggle with is switching from a towel to lavalava outside. I can usually change without a problem outside, but the wet lavalava loves to stick to your body making it difficult.

I have learned that showering outside really isn’t as bad as it seems.

In other water news, my school still does not have running water. They say there is a problem with the pipes, although I am not sure exactly what the problem is. This means school usually gets out a little early so children don’t have to hold it in for too long.

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