Thursday, August 10, 2006

Laundry day

Households do not have washing machines, I suppose it is to be expected but I did not think of this before we left. So we (no sorry I) do all the washing by hand. This is not an easy task. I am used to washing the odd delicate item of clothing by hand, but jeans, muddy football kit and towels are completely different.

We have two bowls or buckets of water, one with soap and one to rinse. We do have soap powder which makes things a little easier and we also use a big block of soap, the same soap (but different blocks) is used to wash the dishes and people. We have no washing boards or any other things you now find in museums in the UK to help with washing. We just scrub the clothes together using our hands. Focusing on the dirty parts. Once washed cloths are transferred to the rinsing bucket. Then wrung and hung out to dry. This is of course not as effective as spinning so the cloths take days to dry, especially in the rainy season. We have washing lines undercover but usually the washing goes out while it is not raining. Then as soon as the rain starts you run out and bring it all in, then put it out again, then in again and so on. Cloths are usually dry after about 4 or 5 days.

The first time I tried Marceline's mum was showing me what to do. She spent most the time laughing at how clueless I was!! She tells me my hands are too soft, I need hands like an African women. By the time we leave here my hands will be really rough. Everything is done by hand. Poor Marceline is washing nappies just about everyday. Then desperately trying to dry them, each evening is spent trying to iron them dry. We actually have an iron, so no getting out of the ironing!!

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