Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ghana Water Use

While there are for sure cultural differences between the US and Ghana, I was not hit with culture shock as I expected. The way of doing daily things is a bit different, but I did not find this hard to adjust to. The house where I stayed in Accra did not have running water but did have electricity. Water was kept in a barrel in the kitched and was refilled from a neighbor who had a large water tank that supplied the neighborhood with water. Neighbors come to fill their barrells from her tank, at a price of course. Dishes are washed in buckets filled with water. Showers are bucket baths. An initial wetting by pouring a bit of water on you, followed by the washing of the body, and wrapped up with the rinsing again by pouring water on your. Brushing of the teeth is accomplished with a toothbrush, toothpaste, and a cup of water...done at your outside location of choice. While there was a toilet, it was only used for #2s. Peeing is again done at your outside location of choice. When the toilet was used, you must bring your own bucket of water to pour into the toilet bowl to flush the toilet. However, as enough water is not often used to flush the toilet completely, you often had a present waiting for you.

All this being said, I could not ignore how much less water I was using this way. I could bath with about 2-3 quarts of water (a few more for washing the hair). Brushing my teeth can be accomplished with less than a cup of water. I also am not frivolous with the amount of water I drink. And if you take too much water, it doesn't have to be wasted by throwing it out, you can simply put it back in your barrell of water...or set it aside for later use. It was a good lesson to learn to quickly. I have plenty of time to consider how to reduce my water use (of course, I have exmamples already) when I return to home

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