Each week we are supposed to spend some time "integrating." Integration is a rather broad term so it encompasses a variety of activities. I have set aside Friday for integration, whether it be cultural or community or whatever.
So today started with me taking a long walk from the other side of my community (I spent the night with another Volunteer) to my house. Because I live on a mountain, the walk was pretty much all uphill. I stopped by the store to grab some charcoal and bread and a few other items, and by the time I reached my home I was dripping with sweat. I unloaded my groceries and bags and then went to the bathroom to hop in the shower only to find that the water is off… again. This time however, I was prepared. I scooped some water from my little water buckets (filled for exactly this reason) and took a little sponge bath. It was satisfying to be able to feel clean despite the lack of running water.
Then I set about my business. I had planned on doing some baking today. So I started with my mom's good ole pineapple casserole. Though I had to improvise on some of the ingredients, it came out tasting spectacular, a nice reminder of home. Next I baked a loaf of Banana bread; my first one ever. While baking said bread I also managed to send an egg carton smashing to the floor… creating quite a mess… grrr. Anyway, my apartment acquired a wonderfully sweet smell during all this baking and it made me smile. The banana bread came out great, though I have not tasted it. I'm hoping to give it to my host mom as a mother's day gift. While my stuff was baking, I managed to get some coals started in my coal pot. I rigged up my little grate by putting three rocks around the edge so it would sit just above the coals. I roasted a few hotdogs and even some chicken. Thankfully during the day a little bit of water started running so I could wash all the dishes I was dirtying. I also managed to mop my apartment (had to clean up the egg ya know). The running water, however, lasted only a short while.
I was sorta waiting for my landlord or her husband to come around so that they could open the laundry room. It's not that I needed to do laundry, but rather I did laundry 3 days ago and didn't get to take it out before the room was locked for the night. Since then I had not seen my landlord to ask her to open it for me. My landlord's husband eventually drove up and opened the laundry room for me. I opened the lid to the washer with a little apprehension about what I would find. Well, there was no mold, but the smell wasn't really nice. I then thought, maybe there's enough water to rewash it. It was only a small load. I started it and it began to fill slowly… but then stopped. But by then it was too late and there was soap in there already. Hmmmm. I didn't want to leave them in there again. So I decided I would use my water buckets to rinse them as best I could and hang them up anyway. The rinsing really turned into washing because the water was so soapy, but by then I had no more water to do any more rinsing. So my towels got hung wet and soapy. I will probably run them through a rinse cycle eventually, but for now at least they are airing out and well, they smell very… soapy.
So, there went my little bucket water supply that I was so proud of. I will fill them again as soon as the water turns back on… which may not happen till tomorrow… or the next day. Anyway, in the evening I heard my neighbors talking and decided that I should go at least say hi. They have hosted Peace Corps Volunteers and Japanese Volunteers in the past, so they know the drill. They welcomed me into their home and we spent some time chatting and getting to know one another. They have two super cute dogs that actually come and let you pet them (a rarity down here). I gave them each a good scratch and they licked my hands. I miss my dogs. While I was there I discovered that they too were frustrated with the water shortages of late. At least it's not just me!
Quite a full day, huh. I baked a lot… made a lot of messes… used up all my reserve water… got to visit the neighbors… experienced St. Lucian water shortages… and now I'm sitting in my living room listening to the glorious (*sarcastic tone*) karaoke going on nearby (this happens every weekend). And still no water… and to top it off, no Internet… whew, Peace Corps life… at least I get to eat pineapple casserole tomorrow J.