washing laundry has a deeper meaning

The other night I laid down to go to bed.  Little did I know that I wasn’t going to sleep good all night (which hasn’t happened in a while) and instead my brain wanted continually think and process so many new things and comments I’ve heard and what not.  The first thing that came to mind is washing laundry.  Okay, I actually find it soothing to wash laundry in the machines at home, but hand-washing with a washboard, a bar of soap and two buckets of cold water?  Are you kidding me?  And many children around telling me I’m doing it wrong and they can do it better because they are “Malian”…it is kind of true though.  Washing by hand is HARD work and that is an understatement.  Sometimes my knuckles would rub against the board and eventually I would get blisters.  Sometimes my right arm was burning because I was so tired of scrubbing up and down.  I also tended to scrub up and down in faster motions than most people on my team (I noticed).  The thing is, I soon found that I liked washing my clothes by hand.  It gave me something to do in the shade, be able to sit outside and talk with whoever was near, and also give me time to just think.  The other “deeper meaning” I am referring to is that I felt successful at something of living the African life.  I felt like I learned something and could do it fine without anyone’s help.  It was comforting.  I felt strong in some sense and impressed myself.  It’s like what they say about missionaries and learning the culture and language at the beginning- you have to start out as a child and be willing to learn as a child does clear from the beginning.  This is hard because we are adults and we should know how to count to ten or even say “Where is the bathroom?” But we can’t, and a three year old can!  I feel there is some sort of embarrassment and maybe a feeling of stupidity at times.  There were many times I felt stupid and awkward and wanted to escape the situation.  To accomplish one thing at a time when there is so much to learn how to do and understand, it is such an amazing feeling, even if it is just washing a load of laundry and hanging it up to dry (in the rain).

Michenzie working her magic! (Not taken by me; don't kill me for putting this up!)

Samuel Gindo washing his clothes by hand. Men don't typically washing their own clothes, but do here (at IBR) because their moms aren't here to wash for them and plus they aren't married yet.

I love taking photos of water!

Oumou, my helper. She likes to take over but sometimes I rejected because I wanted to do it! Oh and the funny thing is that there was a boy who hung around our house alot and he was always willing to help us out alot and he was great at hand washing as well. One time I let him wash my clothes and it was kind of awkward because all my underwear and bras were in there. Good thing he is just a boy!! 🙂


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