The day before yesterday I managed to get running water into the house again. Yesterday morning I was relieved to see the infrastructure survived the still freezing night temperatures. It was flowing just fine. Yesterday evening we showered again .. for the 2nd 1st time … and it was just as wonderful as the 1st 1st shower.
Warning – true story ahead. Some years ago (while still living in a city in Israel) I needed to make a large batch of tea (I don’t remember why). I remember standing in the kitchen wondering how to go about it. In my mind I saw a bunch of cups on the counter with a tea bag in each. It felt too complicated. Andreea caught me pondering and suggested I simply put the tea bags in a large pot with hot water. At the time it seemed like a genius solution … and no I am not really that stupid I was however “programmed” to doing these a certain way. One things “programs” fail to do is deal with things for which they aren’t programmed.
Living here in Bhudeva has drastically changed the way I do things. Not only am I required to learn lots of new things (right now there are more new and unknowns in my life then there old knowns) but I am required to change how I learn. What does all this have to do with a shower?
Well showering is a program like any other. When we first arrived here we didn’t have running water. My “shower programming” went haywire. Fortunately Andreea knew of an alternative “village bathing” program. It’s pretty simple: All you need is a small plastic tub (large enough for you to sit in), some heated water mixed together with cold water and a small rag. You start with your face when the water is cleanest and soap-less. You can sit in or over the tub for washing your genitals. Then you use the rag to wash your body part by part. If you happen to be a couple then a “village bath” can be a wonderful gift of grooming … and beyond
I was fascinated to learn that it is possible to bathe without electricity or running water. I was also amazed at how little water is needed for it (talk about sustainability). But more importantly I learned (yet again) to be adaptive and flexible. I felt empowered by it.
If you live in a city and depend on electricity and running water and they fail (which they occassionally do) there is nothing you can about it. You are helpless. When we purchased our pump I remember thinking what we would it should if fail? should we get a spare pump? what it if fails in winter and we are snowed in and we can’t get to the city to get a new pump? Well those questions have been answered … and the answers are simple and peaceful. When we were without running water for a few weeks we still had water – of course we had to schlepp buckets from the well … but we had a well with water for shlepping. Our rocket stove (which requires schlepping of wood) continues to generate heat without electricity. Our practiced ability to live and function independently is empowering and liberating – it is a core skill in moving towards a sustainable life.
However it was fantastic to stand in our home-made shower with running hot water again