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How to Take a Bucket Shower in Indonesia

I am no stranger to bucket showers.  Growing up in Jamaica I had to take them during numerous water shut offs. Our house would have no water for months at a time after a hurricane swept through the island.

After a weekend getaway to Pulau Tidung, I was forced to take a trip down memory lane, when the homestay I was renting for the weekend only had a squat toilet, a bucket and a scoop in the bathroom.

Bucket showers are green friendly.  You can take a bath with less than five gallons of water.  In Indonesia, it can be hard to find affordable accommodation with Western facilities.  I don’t mind getting clean while conserving water. I was reminded of how wasteful we can be in the West with our twenty minute showers and immersing ourselves into bathtubs filled with water.

You will need:
soap (preferably solid), a scoop (or a cup/empty bottle) and a washcloth.

First scoop some water onto your body, dip the washcloth into the water and lather up. Then stoop down and:

(a)  pour the water over your body to rinse off

(b) use the scoop to pour water over your body

(c) dip the washcloth in and rinse.

I find pouring the entire bucket of water rather wasteful and I’d have to fill up more times than I needed to because the water missed a few spots on my body.  If you use the washcloth method, then you will only have to fill up the bucket once more with fresh water to get a clean rinse.

On a recent mountain trip to Puncak, my bungalow didn’t have hot water in the room as advertised. Shocker. However the room did have an electric kettle.  I boiled water twice, poured it into the bucket and filled up the bucket with cold tap water.  My grandmother used to do this every night in Jamaica. At first the water was almost too hot to bear, but I kept the tap running and continued rinsing off until the water was lukewarm.  It felt good taking a hot bucket shower after being in the cold mountain air.

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