One of the first things you notice when come to Haiti is how hard people work for water. You see it being carried everywhere. In the city you see people waiting in line at cisterns or water trucks to fill galon jugs or five-gallon buckets. Most of the time they have to pay for it, sometimes not. In the country you see women and children, sometimes men, carrying water from community pumps, and rivers and streams. It makes my head hurt to see them carrying five gallons of water on their head, though they do it with ease not spilling a drop.
Our water system at the hospital and compound is fairly complicated. We have running water that comes from a main well. Most of our cisterns are small tanks, or chato dlo, on the roof that get filled when the generator comes on. The chato dlo is black plastic, so during the day the water will get warm and at night it cools to the same temp as outdoors. This means that in the morning the shower is refreshingly cool from April to October, and a little chilly in the winter. But on summer afternoons when you would like the water cold it has had time to warm in the sun and isn't quite so refreshing.
We have several buildings on the system and there are times that a tank will run dry before the generator has time to fill it. I've been having problems with the plumbing for my bathroom and have been without water frequently. Sometimes I have enough to trickle through the faucet of the sink and fill the toilet tank, but not enough pressure for the shower.
Thus, I've mastered the bucket bath. My shower stall is a nice large tiled area so I can splash the water around a lot. Believe it or not, there's a technique to it, and keeping the water out of your ears is the hardest part :) I've got it down pat and can bathe and wash my hair using only about 3 litres of water.
Believe me, I'm not complaining. I still have it much better than most. I don't have to work hard for the water, I don't have to carry it for miles but only from one residence to another. The water is clean. Although there is something simply beautiful about seeing people bathing in streams and rivers, something very basic and human, I am very grateful that I have the luxury of doing it in private.