In this post, intern Kendall Prossner writes about recognizing what it truly means to “rough it” … and how “roughing it” can reinforce our understanding and gratitude.

Today, I am thankful for bathrooms with running water. The hotel we’ve been staying at in Bako has a broken pump, so we’ve been without running water the past two nights we’ve been here. I say that as though it’s a necessity, and yet here I am traveling to different villages, watching as people happily walk to fetch clean water that has been made possible through a Water to Thrive well.

How grateful we should be, just to have a place to sleep and a mattress to sleep on, something that a lot of these community members don’t have.

The sleeping area in one of the homes we visited.

But just so you all feel like you’re here with us, since there’s no running water, we can’t shower or flush the toilet normally. The hotel has provided us with a bucket of water for our bathroom, complete with a little pitcher, to use for the night. To flush, you use the pitcher to pour water into the toilet so that gravity forces what was previously in there down the pipe. In place of a cold shower from a bucket, we use wet wipes and dry shampoo. But “T.I.A.” or “this is Africa,” as Gashaw and Susanne like to say, and we are making it work.

Fanta and a feast in one of the communities we celebrated with today.

Two of the communities we visited welcomed us into their homes and had prepared a feast for us as a way to say thank you, or “gelatoma” in the local language. (As a result of all of the jebana buna and cold drinks they provided us, we had to make quite a few “bush stops,” some of which were at the pit latrines that Madison wrote about yesterday.)

It has been so cool, meeting the people in our service areas and learning something of their culture and way of life. The hospitality they have had for us has been out of this world, and if they live in a world with no running water in their houses, then we can surely last for two nights.