Many of you have expressed appreciation for Stasha sharing her story. She’s been nice enough to give more in depth information of what it was REALLY like to be in an emergency situation. So today she shares with us about WATER.
Before I start with the next story, I would like to say one thing. If you talk to 100 people from Bosnia you are going to hear a 100 different stories. Everyone had a differentexperience. Depending on where they lived, amount of food they already had, if they had natural resources near by. Some lost everything within first few weeks of the war, their homes, their loved ones and their lives. We were fortunate to be able to stay in our home and to live in a small town surrounded with natural resources.
I don’t think I need to do much convincing how important water is. We had a natural spring near by so we were able to get drinking water. The “only” challenge was getting there and back alive when grenades are falling from the sky. Having a good container that you can close tight and run without spilling water was very important. Having containers of any kind that you can use to store water was important in general. We needed water for washing laundry, for bathing, cooking and cleaning. Very quickly we learned to bring these things down to a bare minimum. One of the first things my parents did is move this big wood burning stove into the house. It was sitting in our backyard unused, inheritance from my grandparents, we were going to get rid of it…….oh how happy we were that we kept it. My home already had a hook up for a wood burning stove but I know that some people just simply made a hole in their wall and made it work. Wood burning stoves were in high demand. I can’t imagine having to live without electricity for a long time and not having one. Sure you can cook food in your back yard using open fire or sun oven but good luck heating up your home in the winter.
Back to water, so we used this stove to heat up water in a big stock pot and we would carry it to the bathroom add some cold water and then we used it for bathing. I used plastic pitcher to grab water from the pot, the smaller the pitcher is the better. You have to fill it up more often but when you start running out of the water it is easier to fill up small pitcher from the bottom of the pot, I guess you can have both.
Other than preparing food, washing laundry was a full time job in it self.
We changed shirts and underwear everyday but pants and towels were used few times before they were washed. Washing laundry by hands was painful. My back was killing me leaning over the bath tub all the time, and my wrists developed scabs, the skin on my palms was painful and sensitive to the touch. Underwear we boiled in a big pot on the stove with a little detergent added. This was the only way to disinfect it and yes we had a pot designated for this purpose only 🙂
Drying the laundry became a challenge too, you would think you can just use clothes line and hang it outside but the problem was since everyone in the town had some sort of fire going, and some used coal burning stoves the air was filled with sooth and if you left your laundry outside for an hour it was covered in it so we hung it above our stove inside.
Dirty dishes were kept at minimum, most meals were one pot meals, this helped us stretch the protein too. Paper plates and plastic utensils are great when electricity is out for only few days any emergency that lasts longer than a month means you have a big problem on your hands, how to dispose your trash and even though your trash becomes minimal too since you’re always thinking of different ways to reuse different packaging and there are absolutely no leftover food to be thrown away, there’s still trash.
OK, so for now I’ll live you with this image of a small town that was once beautiful and now smells like a giant beef jerky mixed with aroma of trash that is not going away. :)”