I went to throw out my leftover rice from dinner, and Pushpa told me off. Round here, you don’t throw out food. She collected all the leftovers (none of us can actually finish everything she gives us– I swear she’s trying to fatten us up) in a bowl and took it outside saying “there are birds and squirrels and monkeys that don’t eat enough. In the kitchen, instead of a compost bin, she has a ‘cow bag’. All kitchen waste goes in the cow bag, and it goes outside every night for the cows to eat. By the way I wish I could put a voice recording of Pushpa saying “cow bag” because it’s insanely cute. But she won’t even let me take her photograph, let alone immortalise her speaking.
She saves all my yogurt pots to use for her plants. Every citrus peel is chopped up and dried. Bucket showers are the norm– you fill a bucket with water (we just got hot water!) and scoop that over yourself to wash. In the corner of the bathroom is a little broom, made from local grasses. Every person makes their own. It takes so little time, and is so effective. It’s really amazing to watch, and to think about how much WASTE we generate in the US without even thinking about it. All vegetables here are bought as they are without little plastic bags. Containers are saved. Most milk comes in small plastic bags which are a fraction of the waste of the big plastic containers we use. They don’t even use toilet paper!! There’s a tap by the toilet and you use your left hand to wash your bits. Eat with your right, shake with your right, never offer your left hand to someone, and if someone offers you theirs, well don’t say I didn’t warn you.
And there is no stove here. Only a couple of gas burners. No fancy kitchen. No fancy dishware. No fancy pots. Her knife is a piece of metal that’s been sharpened. I was chopping onions for her (there’s been progress– I’m allowed to do the jobs nobody else wants), and I have a new respect for the marvels that come out of Pushpa’s kitchen now. Because really, anyone can cook with the best equipment and the best knives and the best ingredients. It’s making do on a few dollars a week, with nothing but the most basic of tools, that deserve so much respect.
Which brings me back to rosehips, because they’re free. All the pollution here, the sugar, the dirt, and I’ve broken out. But luckily I have everything with me to make my favourite face scrub– honey and sugar are easy to come by, I had some dried rosehips just in case, and there’s orange peel drying outside on the patio.
Scrubs are the easiest– in fact I never, ever buy them anymore because I’ve found this one to be so effective. But of course it is– honey is amazing like that, it sucks dirt and grime out of wounds and pores alike. Add some sugar for the scrubbing effect (and a natural source of glycolic acid), rosehips (vitamin C) and lemon peel (also vitamin C) and you’ve got a fancy scrub that could never be sold in stores because it has no preservatives or chemicals (where’s the fun, man?!).
The best face scrub ever
1 cup honey
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rosehips (ground to powder)
1/4 cup ground orange or lemon peel (I actually prefer lemon, but I’m making do with what I’ve got)
Mix everything together in a big bowl, and store in a tupperware. The honey and sugar won’t go off– I keep mine right by the bath.
To use, steam face, or take a hot shower, then massage into face (avoiding the eyes) for a few minutes. Leave on for 2 minutes, then rinse.