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Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Paul D. Coverdell World Wise Schools

Daily Usage: The Gambia

Water in Africa

Region
Africa, The Gambia
Type
Story

by Katherine Whitman, Ker Cherno, The Gambia

Water is essential in my life here in Ker Cherno. First of all, I fetch water every other day to put it into my filter to drink. Then, after I come home from teaching at school, I start fetching water for my garden. I don't have a very large garden but it still requires lots of watering, especially since there is no hose with running water. This is definitely a big job, but I enjoy it thoroughly.

After I have completed my garden watering, I must fetch one more bucket for my bath water. Bathing in Africa is quite different from in the States. I use a bucket, cup, wash rag and soap. I use the cup to rinse myself and then I lather up and wash my hair. I scrub every part of my body and get extraordinarily clean. I then rinse myself off. In all, I use about 3/4 of a bucket and most of that is used to wash my hair. When I first heard I would be taking bucket baths for two years, I couldn't believe it! I thought I would never feel clean again. Surprisingly, after a little practice, I got the routine down and now feel as clean as I would in the States. And I am using a lot less water.


by Rachel Davis, Deb Baesemen, Tim Burroughs, Kendra Cornwell, The Gambia

As soon as I awake, I go to my backyard to begin my bathing process. I am fortunate because the generous children in my compound fill my two buckets (one for bathing, one for drinking) early each day.

After bathing and dressing, I drink some of the filtered water (from the well) to wash down my vitamins. For breakfast, I have hot corn porridge that has been prepared with boiling hot water. I then fill up my water bottle to keep myself hydrated throughout the day. On the mornings when I prepare coffee, I use either filtered or nonfiltered water.

When I step out of my front door, I see that a few of my " family" members are using the local water to wash the family's clothing by hand, a very lengthy process. I continue to use water throughout the day for drinking, washing, and preparing food. Living here has made me much more conscious of how much water I am using.

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