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Image - Sara Empties the Cooler It is sometimes the little things that affected us the most while staying at Adobeland. Our routines were quite different in Adobeland than when we are at home in Southern Illinois.

Washing Dishes
After setting up our tent, we take a walk around the area near our campsite to see what was available to us. A plastic dish rack is near a water pump located towards the center of the land. This gave us the idea to use the pump to wash dishes.   After each meal, we fill a plastic cup with water and soap to wash the rest of the dishes.

Food Preparation
We realize it is helpful for visitors to bring a cooler for food and drink storage, to avoid walking to the kitchen for every drink, snack, or meal. Several of the women suggest we purchase block ice instead of bags of cubes, since the block lasts longer. We keep the cooler in the shade of the shed, so each block lasts a few days before needing a replacement. We didn't bring any sort of camping stove, so everything we ate was something that didn't require cooking. A camping stove, pots and pans would be necessary for a longer stay. VideoThe nearest grocery stores are back in Tucson, so we would try to stock up on as much food as possible during our trips to the city. Our trips to town proved overwhelming after spending time out in the desert. Congested traffic, lines of people, and the general pace of the city seemed very fast and strikingly different than life in Adobeland. After about a week, it was getting hard to think of meals that didn't have to be cooked, and that were beyond our usual choices. Breakfast items were pretty much the same as we have back home: yogurt, granola bars, juice. For our other meals we had to get creative after getting tired of eating sandwiches and fruit for days on end. Our favorite store to shop in is Food City, which is geared towards Tucson's Latin American population and offers produce and Mexican food items at very reasonable prices. Avocados and queso fresco were much cheaper than back in Illinois, so we made meals of tostadas with avocado, queso fresco, and lime almost daily.

Shared SpacesImage - Shower Caddy

We learn quickly to share spaces in Adobeland. Though each woman has her own living space, the shared spaces are used daily by most everyone living on the land. In the center of the property, there are three shared structures: kitchen, bathroom, and solar shower. Women are expected to clean the shared spaces as needed. Signs are posted in the bathroom and shower areas that restrict the use of scented products of any kind. Several of the women living on the land have Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, and all must adhere from the use of scented products for them to live comfortably on the land.

During our interviews with Adobe, she tells us how the kitchen was built: "Let's see...the kitchen was in four separate parts, and they were laid down in somebody's truck, and they drove up and said 'could you use these'...I went down and tried to find them, it was a man and a woman and a child and they were moving...so they stacked them up in their truck...and I don't know how they knew about us. I met them out on the easement and they said 'Could you use these?' and 'Oh yea,' so they unloaded them and some women put them together...and some other women put a roof on it, the refrigerators, I don't remember how they came..." Video
The refrigerators are placed side-by-side on the south wall and are powered by electricity wired in through old orange extension cords. There is a countertop and shelves on the east wall of the structure with several tattered cookbooks propped up against each other on one of the shelves.   A table lamp is the only source of light, and it sits on the countertop. We had access to the refrigerators, but decided to keep our food and drinks in a cooler at the campsite. However, the kitchen was a useful source of information. Women wrote notes to the community and taped them to the refrigerator.   Maps of Tucson and stacks of phone books were stored on the shelves. The phone books were useful for us several times during the trip. We also made use of the local maps, which made navigating Tucson much easier.
Image - BathroomBathroom
The bathroom is located next to the kitchen in a separate wood building. It has one flushable toilet, a sink with a mirror and one light bulb located above the mirror. The wall next to the toilet contains a large picture window. There are no curtains or blinds, the window looks onto one of the gardens near Adobe's house. There is also a shelf located opposite the sink which held another mirror. Women would also leave notes to the entire community on this shelf.   A table next to the toilet held magazines and newsletters about a variety of women's issues. Women would leave magazines there to share with the rest of the community. The walls are covered almost entirely in photographs, illustrations, postcards, and notes to and from Adobeland women. It was easy to get distracted by all of the decorations on the wall. Every trip to the bathroom, it was amusing to read the poems or postcards sent by women who had visited the land, or to look at the artwork, some prints by famous artists, some created by Adobeland women. At first, we were uncomfortable with the large window, but became used to it after a few days. It took some adjustment to using both a bathroom and shower with less privacy than we were used to.
We noticed two white porcelain bathtubs located outside, near the south end of Adobe's home. At first, we thought they had just been left outside, but then, noticed shampoo next to one of the tubs. There didn't appear to be a water hookup nearby, so how could anyone use them? We asked Adobe if she used them and she explained: "I had two panes of glass, and the sun heats it up on a day like this...and if it's not hot enough, build a little fire under it, in the wintertime when it's cold...but today should be good, we'll have to go check it out. The sun shines right through the glass and heats it up, and it doesn't escape because the glass is there. There must have been 800 women in that tub over there. All of those European women..." Adobe was referring to a time in the 1980s when women from all over the world visited the land. To get water to the tub she would fill it with water from a garden hose. She offered the bathtub for us to use, but the idea of so many people using it before us was not very appealing, so we decided to stick with using the solar shower.
Image - Solar ShowerSolar Shower
The solar shower was constructed by women living in Adobeland. One of the women checked out a book from the library, and encouraged others to help her build the shower. Glass panes are used to collect the heat from the sun, and the water is warmed. From the outside, it is hard to tell what the solar shower is. Three walls made up of thin bamboo sticks are surrounded by desert vegetation. The vegetation provides some privacy, but there is space between the sticks, so it is possible to see outside the shower at all times. The shower is open to the sky, as there is no ceiling, and the floor is a concrete square. A rope hangs loosely across the opening to the shower, and holds two clothespins. We tried hanging a towel on the rope, but this proved to be a bad idea. The wind blew the towel back into the shower and got soaked, so, obviously, the towel didn't help add extra privacy.   Shower caddies hang on the outside south wall of the bathroom, which is near the shower. Women leave their unscented shower products here instead of carting them to and from the shower. Showering outside was a   refreshing experience with not just the feeling of water on the skin, but also the warm sun, gentle breeze, and all of the sights, sounds, and smells of the desert.
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