When I was 19 I spent the summer with a mission group in Ecuador. It was a life-changing experience! Since then I have never been able to be content to live just a “normal” life. In fact, we have spent time in other third world countries and several places in Europe, and it’s clear that in America we have an “abnormal” life because our standard of living far exceeds that of most of the world.
For orientation to Ecuador, we had to learn to shower with a bucket. When I spent the summer in Haiti a few years later, I had to shower out of a bucket nearly every day (and I was clean and didn’t stink!). If you learn to do it right, it really isn’t that hard.
First you stand in a metal or plastic wash tub so water doesn’t run off and down the drain. When water is scarce or you have to hand pump it, you think of those things. When you are done, you pour that water into a big bucket beside the toilet for flushing.
Place a bucket of clean water beside the wash tub you’re standing in and use a small cup to dip the water out. There is one very serious rule that must be kept: you NEVER place dirty or soapy fingers or washcloths into the clean water! The only instrument touching the water should be the clean cup. If your fingers are soapy, carefully dip a bit of water out of the bucket, and pour it over your fingers to remove the soap or dirt. Of course hold the cup over the wash tub you are standing in so it is not wasted.
Make yourself wet, not using more water than necessary, because more water is needed for rinsing. Lather and scrub yourself, but don’t splatter soap or dirt into your bucket of clean water. When you are scrubbed, get the soap off your hands and rinse yourself off with the cup. If you have a lot of hair like I do, it may be easier to bend over a smaller tub in the sink at a separate time using the same principles.
Practice doing this, and teach your children, seeing who can get clean using the least amount of water. Try to work yourself down to two quarts per shower. It may come in handy some day!