My students shower every morning, washing their clothes at the same time. I do not. After four days, they were worried enough to have the oldest intern ask: “Are you ok? Do you wear the same thing every day?”
Water is kept is a square, stone cistern. A plastic bucket with flowers printed on the bottom acts as the shower. My arm thus becomes the shower-head.
The washing machine is a larger plastic tub, with a handful of soap suds added. That same little bucket creates the water pressure. My hands become the spin cycle.
By the fifth day, I learned the beauty of this simple system. One source of liquid, one location. If I want to go crazy, and pee at the same time, then I just dump the bucket over the squat toilet, instead of myself.
Welcome to Mae Hong Son, Thailand and my cleansing ritual for three months. Teaching English to Burmese refugees, I’ll surely undergo a progression of culture shocks. #1: Well-rounded hygiene requires nothing more than a 30 Baht bowl and my own 10 dexterous appendages.