by Katherine Whitman, Ker Cherno, The Gambia
Water is essential in my life here in Ker Cherno. First of all, I fetch water every other day to put it into my filter to drink. Then, after I come home from teaching at school, I start fetching water for my garden. I don't have a very large garden but it still requires lots of watering, especially since there is no hose with running water. This is definitely a big job, but I enjoy it thoroughly.
After I have completed my garden watering, I must fetch one more bucket for my bath water. Bathing in Africa is quite different from in the States. I use a bucket, cup, wash rag and soap. I use the cup to rinse myself and then I lather up and wash my hair. I scrub every part of my body and get extraordinarily clean. I then rinse myself off. In all, I use about 3/4 of a bucket and most of that is used to wash my hair. When I first heard I would be taking bucket baths for two years, I couldn't believe it! I thought I would never feel clean again. Surprisingly, after a little practice, I got the routine down and now feel as clean as I would in the States. And I am using a lot less water.
by Rachel Davis, Deb Baesemen, Tim Burroughs, Kendra Cornwell, The Gambia
As soon as I awake, I go to my backyard to begin my bathing process. I am fortunate because the generous children in my compound fill my two buckets (one for bathing, one for drinking) early each day.
After bathing and dressing, I drink some of the filtered water (from the well) to wash down my vitamins. For breakfast, I have hot corn porridge that has been prepared with boiling hot water. I then fill up my water bottle to keep myself hydrated throughout the day. On the mornings when I prepare coffee, I use either filtered or nonfiltered water.
When I step out of my front door, I see that a few of my " family" members are using the local water to wash the family's clothing by hand, a very lengthy process. I continue to use water throughout the day for drinking, washing, and preparing food. Living here has made me much more conscious of how much water I am using.