Jump to Content or Main Navigation

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Daily Usage: Gabon

Water in Africa

Africa, Gabon

I fell asleep last night listening to the rain pounding on my metal roof. This morning, I woke to the sound of drizzle. When it rains, I can sleep late, because no one walks outside in the rain—you might catch a cold. But when I could stay in bed no longer, I opened the door to welcome the day. Within moments, a neighbor came in, and we shared a pot of filtered water and Nescafé.

Later, I decided to take advantage of the rain-dampened ground to weed my garden. Afterward, I took a cold bucket bath to rinse and cool off. The tropical sun has made me appreciate the availability of water here.

My next task was to replenish two buckets at the pump. The visit to the pump has become a ritual: there, I greet my neighbors with "good morning." It's a social event. Generally, if there is one woman at the pump, you can be sure someone else will show up to keep her company.

Washing clothes is also a social event. The day before laundry day, I usually tell my friends, so that they will have laundry ready to wash as well. We go down to a stream, where it is much cooler than in the village.We often take a lot of time to wash just a few things in order to enjoy ourselves.

Since joining the Peace Corps, I have come to appreciate how little water one person really needs. While I could potentially use more than two buckets of water a day if I wanted to, the fact is that I don't need to. I will carry this knowledge back home to the States. I can already see myself, years from now, as a parent, making my children take one-bucket baths.

World Wise Speakers

Invite a Peace Corps volunteer into your classroom to share what it's like to live a global life by sharing stories, cultures and knowledge.