21 February 2012

Pathway Work Part 2

Showers are 15 minutes each. I heat up a stockpot full of water on the stove, and then pour it into a 5 gallon bucket and call over a student. They take the bucket and a few drops of camp suds, along with their clean laundry, back to the "shower," which is three tarps hung from juniper trees behind the teepee. They must call their name out loud every three to five seconds as they shower. It is more of a billy bath than a shower, really, as the girls stand in the snow and strip down half at a time, washing their top, putting on a clean shirt, than washing their lower half, and putting on clean long underwear. Usually the girls wear a cotton tee, a thin long undershirt, a thick long undershirt, a red fleece pullover, and a blue windstopper fleece coat. On the bottoms they wear their thin long underwear, their thick long underwear, blue fleece pants, and the shorts from their hiking pants. Sometimes they will also wear their raincoat bottoms. The current trend is to wear things inside out and backwards. I don't know why. While showers are happening, girls are stacking wood, helping me cook pizza, and doing "deep clean." Every week, they wash the pots and pans, food bags, spice bottles, and cups with soap, bleach, and hot water. There is lots of wandering around at this point, starting to help and then getting distracted, getting some lunch, asking for more food, forgetting things in the teepee and asking staff to go with them to get it, and general slow motion chaos. With lots of prodding, it all happens and we begin crossing chores off our list. We cook the pizza in the coals in dutch ovens and it is a raging success, fluffy yeast dough with caramelized onions and sharp cheddar cheese. We used almost an entire stick of butter caramelizing the onions. My cook's helper is from New Orleans.

With hair wash, we set up a salon on the deck. I heat more water and have the girls brush out their hair. Everyone puts on rain jackets and tucks in the hood. Then they stand just below the deck and bend over and I carefully pour the hot water over their hair. Shampoo and conditioner are passed around and there is lots of calling out of my name and demanding more water or more conditioner or more time or a different temperature, but eventually it is done and everyone goes back to the fire to dry their hair before it freezes. At this point they start asking for their mail, and I know the day is starting to draw to a close.


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