We’ve all heard about Namibia and its water crisis. In 2007, an aquifer was discovered in my region (Ohangwena). It is predicted to be able to supply a significant amount of water to Namibian residents.
Until that phase is rolled out… Some days I come home to dry taps.
I don’t think I have ever appreciated the conveniences or realized the magnitude of inconveniences when it comes to water until I moved to Namibia. I mean, just like food, clothing, and shelter, water is a necessity. Water is life. Water is bae.
Being a PCV, you quickly learn that it’s always a good idea to plan for water to just not work.
Sometimes for a few hours and maybe sometimes for a few days.
WATER FILTER (CONVENIENCE)
Peace Corps supplies volunteers a water filter. Although the water in my area is clean and purified, it’s nice to have a container to store water in. You quickly learn to be creative and efficient with your resources in the Peace Corps. This is strategically placed above my dish washing bucket so that any extra drop can be used for washing dishes. Some PCVs utilize jerry cans for extra water storage in case of emergencies, or if they need to travel a distance to fetch water.
BUCKET BATHING (INCONVENIENCE)
Summer time is approaching quickly, which means outdoor shower. But, for the other times of the year it means bucket baths.
I hate bucket bathing.
I am so new at this concept, I never actually feel all that clean. You know the Peace Corps meme with a glass half-full (or half-empty, however you want to look at it) which says something along the lines of “I can take a shower with that.” While in my case, that truth is a tad bit stretched. But, I will say when I do take a bucket bath I use at most 6 liters of water.
I fill up two of these and add about a liter or so of cold water. One of many “American” downfalls of bucket bathing is time spent. It takes about 3 to 4 minutes to heat up each pitcher of water, and a considerably longer amount of time to actually bathe.
There’s also a techniques, which I will probably still be working on at the completion of my two years in Namibia.
First, wash your face.
Second, wash your arm, legs, pits, and bits.
Third, wash your hair.
Lastly, wash your underwear. It’s very taboo to wash your underwear with your outerwear to hang on the line. So, instead your underwear should be washed with your bath water and hung up in a private area, such as your room, to dry.
TIPPY TAP (CONVENIENCE)
In the village, we do a lot of health promotion and education on proper hand washing and hygiene which includes how to make a tippy tap. My host brother actually made this one while I was away for the weekend. A tippy tap is a wonderful hands-free way to hand washing when running water is not available.
DISH WASHING (INCONVENIENCE)
I shared this photo on my Instagram a few weeks ago. I share a kitchen with my host family and there is no sink. Instead we use buckets to wash and rinse dishes. Since moving out to my hut, I have downsized to only one bucket (buckets get expensive and take up room). I wash my dishes in one bucket, set them aside, and then fetch clean water to rinse. I then use the rinse water as the wash water for the next load the following day. Repeat. I do sometimes consider this an inconvenience, but actually it’s a little therapeutic. Sometimes, the kids help me wash. They like using my kitchen gadgets, i.e. bristle brush to clean my water bottles and my sponge with the built-in stainless-steel sponge.
It’s truly the little things that make a world of a difference.