Friday, April 10, 2009

1 gallon showers

Of course, we had to be extra cautious how we use the precious water.

For teeth brushing we used just a glass of water, and same for washing the face. There were times when we collected that water to use in the toilets later. Showering had to be done with one gallon of water. Since the bathtub was used to store the water, we were showering on the bathroom floors. (Sometimes we'd use a baby's tub to stand in, so that we can collect that water - again for the toilets) Fortunately, those buildings are made of concrete, and entire bathrooms are tiled, and have a drainage on the floor, which made this kind of showering more doable. Another interesting detail of this process is that the bathroom didn't have windows, so there was no natural light coming in. The electricity was also restricted, and the candles were usually a commodity during those days, so we had to shower in very low light.
I realized I was using the term "shower" very loosely here. Since there was no running water, our "shower" was a cup with which we would pour the water. Also, we had to first heat smaller amount of water to mix with the cold water to make it somewhat bearable temperature.

On the days when we would get the electricity, we wouldn't necessarily have running water at the same time. To operate a washing machine, we had to manually add water when the machine expects it. By the way, the whites cycle on our machines took about 3 hours. We had to constantly monitor it and when the cycle expects the water coming into the drum, we would pour it from the top with a cup.

I must say, we were never lacking drinking water. We rationed elsewhere, so there was always just enough of the clean water for drinking and cooking.

It took me years to not think about hording water. Every now and then I would remember those days, for example when brushing teeth and resisting temptation to not close the water for those two minutes, just because I can....or just be thankful for the (almost) endless running hot water in the shower...or the store bought water bottles that I don't have to keep as containers, because I can just go an buy the water.

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