During the first year of my service I washed all my own laundry in plastic tubs (baignoires, as we call them here) with a washboard and soap packets. I washed socks, shirts, towels, everything, and I was passably competent (everything came out smelling fine at least) but never really became a stellar washing-lady or anything. There's nothing particularly awful about pulling water, carrying water, mashing the clothes around, and wringing them out, but there's nothing particularly great about it, either.
|The laundry area at the Regional House|
|Laundry lines at the Regional House|
Nowadays my laundry mostly gets done in village and it's my host sister Mariama Kesso who does the bulk of the washing. The first time I gave her my clothes to wash they came back so clean that they were an entirely different color (they had all been slightly orange, from the dust) and I gave up trying to wash things myself. I still launder my own underwear and things but she takes my pants, shirts, and sheets and washes them on Sundays, when she does her own washing. She does a better job than I ever did and is happy to earn a few extra mille every month, so it's a win-win situation.