Over the last couple weeks, the department of water has decided that it shall only be available sporadically, sometimes for only an hour a day. With these daily water outages in my village, I’ve begun to take more notice about how much I use, which is not much. If I take a bath, that takes 4-5 litres. I don’t use much else aside from drinking and cooking since there is no toilet to flush. Washing clothes is another story but recently that option hasn’t been available.
Because I am still living without electricity, my energy consumption is super low. Granted, I keep my fridge plugged in and use the electric stove for cooking, but having only one electrical plug has harshly limited the amount I can use. I charge my computer every day, but I do most things in my house by candlelight and my lamp is solar-powered (thanks Veronica!), so that counts for a small amount of electrical consumption.
The one thing I haven’t really been able to control is recycling – there are no systems in place to manage waste in that respect (but I’m working on getting them). Presently, I create a grocery bag of rubbish every few weeks. In Botswana the people burn trash, though I don’t let plastic go in ours.
This is far from being considered a comfortable lifestyle, but I’ll pat myself on the back for upholding the non-consuming aspect of Peace Corps life. In honor of the 50th Anniversary of its inception, Peace Corps was promoting a challenge for Americans to live like a volunteer. I can’t imagine this would be easy in the states since everything is so readily available, but maybe it’s worth some thought. Why does our culture support owning gigantic hot water heaters? Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice hot shower (more than most things), but nowadays I’m heating about 2 litres of water to bathe. Many volunteers have a geyser in their house, which is switched on manually, rather than keeping huge stores water hot 24/7.
I apologize if I’m coming off preachy; I don’t mean to be. In fact, it took me a while to come to terms with my bitterness about my housing (don’t know if I’m fully there yet). The truth is, I’m living like a lot of the people in Botswana do and it is a lot more work than the alternative. I just want to provide some insight about my life here. We could all consume a little less and make the world a little greener. Maybe I’ll just go plant some trees – then I’d really be a Peace Corps hippie! Ha,