water on Saba.
It was tricky.
Remember how all our water came from the heavens? We lived off rain water that was caught in gutters and ran through pipes to our cistern. A cistern is a receptacle for holding water. Ours was a cement building behind our house. From there, the water was filtered and pumped in to our house to use.
I also had a filter on our refrigerator, and on our tap for drinking.
The water was so delicious. It was the best tasting water I have ever had.
However, we had to be so careful with water. You never ever wanted to waste water because you never knew if you would have enough. We had to count on the rain.
When we showered, we turned the water on and got wet. Then we turned it off and soaped up. Then we turned it on to rinse off. That was something I couldn’t wait to come back to the U.S. for. I was ready to have a nice long shower. I think water is something we all take for granted.
The biggest water waster was laundry. It took some getting used to for me. I had to have a lesson on Saba laundry; and I hated it from the moment I learned.
I did laundry every Wednesday, and it took me all day. (I hated Wednesday)
This is a picture of our washing machine, and Jex helping me with laundry. It was called a Saba washer.
The machine consisted of two sides. One side that agitated and washed like a normal washer, and then a spin side that would spin out the water.
You started wash by filling up the wash side with water from your hose. Yes, you heard me right; the hose. Can you see that my washer is on my front porch. I did laundry outside.
Once it was full, you had to add your laundry soap. I also added some oxy clean to make the laundry cleaner.
You started out by washing your whites first. Once they had agitated for about 12 minutes it was finished.
Then you took each article of clothing out one by one, and wrung out the water back in to the wash side. It was important to save every drop of water.
Once it was wrung out you wound it down in to the spin side. You had to do this just perfectly so that it would spin and not get off balance. You could only spin about 1/3 of your load at a time. So each load took 3 spin cycles. Each cycle took about 3 minutes to spin dry. While it was spinning, it would send the extra water it had spun off out a hose. You had to catch this water in a bucket and dump it back in the wash side. NO WASTING WATER remember.
After you finished spinning your first load, then you moved on to lights, and then darks, and then towels. Yes. All of the clothes are washed in the same water. The wash side never drains. Hence the reason you start with whites. That is also why I added oxi-clean to each load.
Laundry was an all day affair. Once it was washed and spun, it was time to hang it out to dry. We did not have dryers.
This is a picture of laundry hanging in my house. There were several times that I hung it outside, and then it would rain. Yes, rain was important to us; but so annoying when your laundry was hanging out to dry.
In our second house, I had a covered porch and could hang laundry there. It was pretty annoying to wade through it to get to the front door, but it’s what had to be done. It could take up to 3 days to dry because the island was damp and misty feeling on most days.
At the beginning of our second year of medical school, my husband sent a big surprise for me on a boat from St. Maarten. It was a dryer. There were not to many people who had dryers. I felt so lucky and spoiled and it made laundry so much easier. Still hard; but easier. My husband loves me.
When I moved home from Saba, I swore I would never complain about doing laundry again.
Guess what, I still hate laundry and I still complain.
Read more about our life on Saba here.