After coming back from Tonga, I never realized how much advantage I took over my usage of water. At home, I would run the water until it became hot before I use it, and that probably wastes a lot of water. Especially when I take showers at home, I like it when my showers are really hot because it relaxes me.
It was really different in Tonga. After the first night, I knew there was no point in running the water so long because it would barely get hot, so I ended up taking a cold shower everyday. Sometimes it was really nice because we did a lot of work that day and I sweat a lot. Other times, not so great but it was something that was bearable.
In Tonga, I realized how much water I actually use at home. In my own shower, I take 20 minute long showers with the hot water constantly running. Over there, I usually just rinsed first, turned off the water, cleaned my body with soap, shampoo, face wash, etc and then turned the water back on the rinse everything off again. I’m pretty sure I ended up saving at least 5 gallons of water during the entire trip.
Besides showering, getting access to clean drinking water was kind of difficult. Unlike Canada, we couldn’t just fill up our water bottle with sink water because it wasn’t clean. At first, it felt like it was a big inconvenience because we had to walk to the restaurant to get water every single time, but after the first couple days, I actually started to enjoy the walk there because whenever I ran out of water, it was usually an hour before meal times so I just stayed there and got to know other people.
I remember there was one work day where there was no more water at the school, so we had to work in short amounts of time, so that we wouldn’t run out of water. I was kind of disappointed because I really wanted to work that day, and having that disadvantage really demotivated me from working as hard. At the end of the day though, I still feel like I accomplished the same amount of hard work that I wanted to put in, so the water issue was only a minor roadblock to the whole image.