Sunday, April 24, 2011


In the home where I am staying, we take bucket baths. What this means is that we warm water over an outside fire, which we bring inside and pour into a basin to bath in. Now, I’m not a very big person so I do actually fit inside the bath basin but I just barely fit and, honestly, the two inches of water to bath with are hardly conducive to achieving any genuine state of cleanliness (perhaps that’s why people bath twice a day here?).  Nevertheless, this is how bathing is done in my home in Kanye (and many homes like mine here) so I am bound and determined to make the most of it.

Bathing is not easy and it has taken a bit of an adjustment. All of us trainees have discussed bathing failures and successes in hopes of shedding light on the most effective ways to bath. Yes, folks, it is kind of like childhood all over again!

The other day I got home from a long and tiring day of sessions and all I wanted was a hot shower, my sweatpants, and a bed. No, this cannot be my reality anymore, so I set out to start a fire to warm water for a bucket bath… definitely not what I wanted to be doing at that moment but oh well. And then, SURPRISE, my bucket bath felt great and was exactly what I needed! Success! (Now, let me re-define “success” as I washed my hair (leaning over the basin and scooping water from my bucket onto my head) and I felt somewhat clean and refreshed.) I was reveling in this success when all of the sudden it dawned on me (mid-drying off) that my back was basically dry meaning that it hadn’t actually gotten washed and my bucket bath wasn’t “successful” after all. For a moment I felt defeated, like my sense of success in bathing meant nothing. Boo! Here I was feeling refreshed and happy about my bath when I wasn’t even all that clean… and then I decided to consider my bathing experience a success anyway. I mean, I feel good, I feel clean, my spirits were lifted, and does it really matter if my back is clean (I can’t see it and it’s covered by a shirt right?)? Why oh why would I take that away from myself just because I realized my back might not actually be clean for the next two years? My legs were shaved after nearly a week’s hiatus, my hair was washed and, I believe, at least most of the shampoo and conditioner was out… Yes, this bath was a success!

As you can see, my view on success is slowly changing but I think that’s ok. I mean, heck, simple pleasures and small victories, right?! Oh Botswana, how I love you!


  1. So, now I know the perfect present to send you...I'm going to hunt down a solar shower. You can fill it with water in the morning, leave it outside, and when you get home, you take take it inside and shower!!!! Perfect right?

  2. I'm not sure where I would hang it inside... We don't have a shower room or anything. I bring the bath basin into my room and bath in there. But the idea is fantastic... I'll let you know my accommodations once I get to my permanent site! This will work just fine for now! Love you mama! :)