by Lori Duff, Grahipla, Côte d'Ivoire
I use only about three buckets of water here a day for bathing, drinking, and cooking. I have a small concrete shower where I take bucket baths and a filter with which I purify and clean my water. At night it can get chilly, so I heat the water for my bucket bath. The little boys and girls in my neighborhood bathe in their courtyards with the moonlight as their companion.
by Sarah McElroy, Kamalo, Côte d'Ivoire
Every morning I get up and wash my face using water from my bath bucket. After each meal, I wash my dishes outside on my porch. I lightly wet everything with water from an oversized plastic cup and then soap up my sponge and wash the plates and pots. I then rinse everything by using the plastic cup. When I cook, I always use the least amount of water. I can now cook macaroni and have little or no water left to drain!
Each night, I take a bucket bath; the process is similar to washing the dishes. I use a cup to pour water on myself and use a rough net-type wash rag to make sure I get all the dirt off! Unlike most of the villagers, my shower area is inside. It is a little room with a drainage hole in the floor. I also have a flush toilet. Although it is similar to a normal toilet, you have to pour a bucket of water to flush it, since there is no running water.
In the village the women get water every morning around 6 a.m.and then again at 4 p.m. They carry large basins of water on their heads and store the water in concrete jars or drum barrels. During the day, they use water to cook, clean, and wash. Some families have refrigerators and sell cold water in plastic bags. There are usually two different kinds of water—one is a sweet flavored drink made from ginger and the other is a slightly bitter one made from leaves. They are very good and refreshing, especially when it's hot!
I have become very aware of water and how much I use. I conserve and recycle water as much as I can. It is amazing how much water is used in the United States. The amount I use to wash myself every night (which is about three fourths of a bucket) would probably equal the amount used to boil two pots of spaghetti in the United States.
by Amy Bailey, Grand-Bereby, Côte d'Ivoire
I spend about 30 minutes a day doing my water routine. I keep two large basins outside on my terrace next to the courtyard well. Either I fill them or one of the neighborhood girls does. They hold approximately 30 liters of water each, and this usually suffices for all my water needs for two days. Every night I heat a pot full of water so I can have a warm bucket bath. If I don't wash my hair, I use only half a bucket to bathe (only about 7.5 liters of water). At the most I use two-thirds of a bucket. My bathing water is unfiltered. However, I use my Peace Corps water filter every day with well water and then fill various containers with the filtered water, adding the appropriate amounts of chlorine (3 drops/1.5 liters) to the water and putting it in the fridge to cool. I also use filtered and treated water to brush my teeth. Any water used in my sink to wash hands or brush teeth goes into a bucket below the sink, which I dump into the toilet. I try to conserve water by pouring used laundry water to flush the toilet, followed by clean water poured quickly and efficiently in order to completely flush. I didn't realize until coming here that a bucket of water is all one needs to flush a toilet! When I return to the United States, I'll never waste the amount of water I did before entering the Peace Corps.