Here's my expose' on the versions of "Eco-green living"...the Asian way...back then & now... And since this post is prompted by Crunchy Chicken's cloth wipes, it is befitting that I begin my exposition on that topic: The handy feminine "Punas" (wipes) :
Think about the boonies. What comes into mind ? Picture yourself living in it. The forest is your shopping mall. If you look at the picture above, that is the traditional house, Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut) & setting where I lived and grew up. Luxury doesn't exist in any form. It's like being Jane in Tarzan's world! And being a woman with feminine needs, it can get kinda rough (and gross). Think about when its that "time of the month". yuk! Feminine wipes, pads or even toilet papers are basically unknown & has not reached the mainstream market yet. So what's a woman to do? Our talented foremothers created one just for that purpose - and more - which was passed on to the next generation & beyond : Old white T-shirts were recycled into feminine wipes...
Dilemmas: What if you're a bloody Mess ? - Now even with cloth wipes being handy, it still gets tricky when you're a bloody mess- so, instead of using the wipe after each trip to the restroom, we resort to "kaw-kaw our papaws" -pronounced like cow(wash our delicate selves)- or moo-moo cows as how my daughter calls it - then we use the wipe to dry our "pretty flowers". Makes sense, don't it? Back then, the cloth wipes was one of the essentials you'll see stuffed in women's purses or bags. You won't catch one without it especially when they're away from their own turf. Ok this is starting to sound like a vagina monologue now, don't you think? :)
Care instructions: Depends on your preference. If you wash (cow-cow) yourself every trip to the restroom (which is highly hygienic) and using the cloth wipe to dry you up, then you can wash the cloth until you think it's necessary, especially when it doesn't pass the "smell" or "scent" test ! (",). Otherwise, hang to dry until next use. And if you must wash after every use, wash (or handwash) as normal but use delicate soap. Now, If you want to incorporate washing yourself every trip to the bathroom a habit , here is one handy tool that would surely do the trick: Peri Bottle! - I love mine! For any mother who has given birth in a hospital, you get them free. Make use of it. It makes for a wonderful feminine hygiene gadget.
Lunapads has actually captured the very essence of this idea - and they're very cute too!
Here is a funny excerpt from the past when Feminine pads finally permeated the market:
The 1st type of feminine pads that made to our store shelves was the ones with "belts". Strings are tied on both ends and are attached to a belt that goes around your waist. My Aunt decided to try this modern contraption - without the belt! She took me with her to the market. We walked since we live so close to the center of the city. She was busy telling me stories when all of a sudden, a man yelled for her attention. He was pointing at her bloodied pad on the ground with disgust & embarrassment! - Her pad fell out. - she must have been wearing really loose underwear. As for my Aunt & I, we both went crazy laughing! -Thank heavens for sticky glues on the feminine pads now!
So, say goodbye to toilet papers & more and save trees!- As you can see, I've already passed on this age-old tradition to my daughter. What about you? I am interested in finding out what age-old traditions or ritual you have growing up. From what country did you grow up? I would like to know how our different living conditions dictates the way each of our diverse cultures lives & adapts to survive.
dig this: Some motherly advice - If you must use toilet paper in public toilets, wet the paper slightly. This will soften the paper & saves you from those icky wacky paper scratches, not to say, those loose fibers that is also an irritant. If our "flowers" can sneeze, it probably already have everytime you use toilet paper!