Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Laundry

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
I like hanging things out to dry, though. At the Regional House we have lines set up; in village people just drape clothes over fences or wherever and I have a couple little lines running over my latrine enclosure behind my hut so that I can discreetly dry my underthings. Drying laundry in the hot season is like magic - things seems to insta-dry. In the rainy season it's more of an exercise in futility, just an un-fun game where you hope the sun comes out long enough to get rid of the dampness before mildew starts to set in.

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. 

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