I asked a few friends from around the globe to give us a glimpse of what laundry looks like in their corner of the world…
Washboard in Belize
“This is one of my favorite pictures from our travels. We were visiting our godchildren in Belize, and Phoebe wanted to help with the laundry. Prior to this, she didn’t know a washboard had any other use besides Bluegrass music!”
photo and story from Ginger Truitt
Soaking in Mozambique
“You know you are in Mozambique when…you do laundry in the morning because the city water is only on in the mornings and because your ‘dryer’ is the sun,” says Jennifer Straw. She shares photos of her laundry soaking inside her house, and the guard washing laundry in her back yard.
photos & story from Jennifer Straw, missionary to Mozambique with AIM
Lines in the Middle East
“A story from our first week in the middle east: Last night our washer got stuck after Robert put in 6 towels. It caused some concern as we thought it would need to be repaired, but this morning, when he attempted to wash clothes again, it worked! Apparently it was overloaded. I’m learning how to dry clothes on the line.”
photos and story from Bethany
Washing in Cameroon
story from Janelle Lonbeck
I’m a missionary that lives and works in town. Life is not as difficult as in the village. Yes, I’ve tried washing by hand, foot, plunger, ringer, and good old slapping the soapy clothes on the cement floor, but nothing beats a clothes washer!
My roommates and I are now the proud owners of a previously owned washing machine! It is a machine with…character. Originally it was going to go in the largest bathroom in our apartment. There is a bit of walkway just inside the bathroom, a wall on one side and a ledge on the other. Great place for our new item and it would be protected from the water. (Side note: most bathrooms in Cameroon are tiled. Most don’t have shower curtains. It’s just one room with a sink on one wall, a shower head on another, the toilet on the third and a drain somewhere on the floor.) BUT the washer was too wide…or the door too narrow. So now it’s sitting outside the bathroom door in roommates bedroom, situated just right so you can plug it in and still reach the drain pipe around the corner into the bathroom and over the ledge so the soapy water actually goes down the drain eventually.
The washer doesn’t fill up anymore, which is great because there’s nothing to attach the hoses to anyway. So we fill it up from the water barrel in the bathroom. We counted the other day and it takes about 7 or 8 buckets. Once filled, it will run. Once it spins out the soapy water we fill it up again for the rinse cycle. Is it worth it? Well, YOU try washing clothes by hand (and sometimes, by stomping on them) for 3 months. Then you will say YES!
Drawing Water in Uganda
“Four years ago, I was spending a few months in Uganda. One of my first tasks in that new country? Doing laundry. No washing machine for me. I did the laundry by hand, standing in the hot African sun. Definitely not easy. Definitely not comfortable.
But this wasn’t just any laundry. I was doing the laundry of a group of Canadians on a short term mission trip. One of those Canadians is now my husband. A few years ago, I was already doing his laundry. By hand. In Africa. With water drawn by hand from a reservoir of rain water. By John. The now-husband. Funny how a few years changes things.”
Wringing and Drying in Ecuador
story from Becky Smith, missionary with NTM
The year was 2007. As a family we moved to Ecuador for 6 months and lived on a ridge of a mountain near the Awa people. Groceries, school books, tools, clothes, gas cylinders, toilet paper, laundry soap, and other essentials were hauled up the mountain on our backs or on the backs of pack horses. Because it rained a LOT, we wore black rubber boots. And, of course, we got muddy.
Clothes had to be washed every day or two by hand, so each one did his/her own laundry. For the most part, I washed hubby Wayne’s. Down the trail, Kevin had rigged up a “laundry room”. Water from a spring flowed down a PVC pipe and collected in a big rubber container which flowed into a laundry tub. We soaked the clothes in soap in the laundry tub and scrubbed them on a board with an attached hand-cranked wringer. Then, we rinsed the clothes and wrung them out by hand or through the wringer.
The view of the mountains, jungle trees, and valley was spectacular. Sometimes a butterfly would light nearby. He looked as if the number “89” was written on his wings. After washing we carried the wet clothes in a bucket and climbed the bank back up to the house (we called our houses “the twin towers”) to hang them up to dry.
Because of the dampness, there were days when the clothes didn’t dry too well. Other days the wind blew them so vigorously that they flew out in almost a diagonal position. We hung them from the second story of the wooden framed house on a pulley line that was attached from the house out to a tree. Sometimes we hung a few under the eaves.
With everyone doing his/her own laundry the “load” wasn’t too great and at times could actually be an enjoyable adventure…or at least something fun to write home about! May your “load” be light this week.