Wednesday, May 26, 2010


It will likely come as no surprise that there are no washing machines here. All laundry is done by hand. It is funny now that I look at how, back home, laundry is seen as a chore when really all that you need to do is pile it into a machine and push a button. Here, it is a labour intensive process that can take all day, depending on how much you've let your dirty clothes pile up. And, what we view as dirty at home does not compare to what is dirty here. Pants are turned brown from mud and shirts are sweated in so much they smell like they've been sitting at the bottom of my hockey bag for a week. You have to scrub, and scrub, and scrub until they smell and look clean. They, you ring out the soap and put them in clean water. Then you ring out all the water and hang them to dry. Luckily, muhaha, I do not do our laundry. That was the deal from the start - I cook, Aubrey does laundry. I definately got the better end of the deal. I usually help ring out the clothes because it is actually a very good forearm workout and quite tiring.

However, I am not writing this post to tell you about Aubrey's laundry woes. Yesterday, we were at Tuleeni in the afternoon, as per usual. I have spoken before about how amazingly grown up and independent the children are, and yesterday I saw yet another example of that. I walked outside the orphanage gate to find Pendo, Queeni and Seleena washing their own clothes. For those of you who saw my pictures from last time, Queeni was the smallest girl at the orphanage. She only weighs about 30 pounds. Although I am not sure of the others' ages, they cannot be older than 6. I walked over and helped them scrub their socks. I am still amazed as to why locals continue to buy an abundance of white clothing even though they have to handwash the mud out of it. I spent about 15 minutes scrubbing each sock, as each time I thought I had done a satisfactory job, one of the girls would point to a small brown spot that I had missed. After my first sock, which they seemed to be quite impressed with, all the kids fought over whose sock I was going to wash next. It was pretty funny.

What is amazing is that I didn't learn how to turn a washing machine on until I was at least 14, and yet these kids wash their own clothes all the time in a fashion that I find to be quite difficult with smiles on their faces. It's a happy place to be.


  1. You can use the rocks in the lake when you get back. It will help perserve the memories.

  2. Awe That brings back memories of washing clothes by hand in Mexico. Fun times. Keep scrubbing.

  3. Don't worry Graeme, we've got laundry machines at the house. However we do not have roommates nearly as nice as yours.

    P.S. that means you can't pay me enough to do your laundry...

  4. Hi Graeme: Am testing out to see if I am still on your comment list. Looking forward to your next blog. Love Grandma

  5. Best wishes from Italy to you and the unlucky Aubrey :)

  6. Try giving Aubrey a break and do your laundry just before the sun comes up. I've gotten into the habit of getting up at 5:00 once a week, when it's still cool out, to scrub the hell out of all my red-dust stained clothing. The reward when I'm done is the sunrise. I have never seen anything so beautiful or calming.