In Peace Corps Morocco

Doing Laundry


Last night was my first experience doing my laundry on my own. I was truly missing the modern convenience of the washing machine right about then. My family has a washing machine, but I don’t think it’s exactly what I am used to. I didn’t have a big enough load to use it and I had heard that even when using the washing machine the process is still long. So I returned home from a trip to the hub and got right down to business. I indicated to Malika that I wanted to do laundry by rubbing my hands on my shirt as if I were washing it. She got the picture. She helped me fill up two buckets with cold water and put powder detergent in one of them. I gathered about 15 pieces of clothes that were in need of a wash and she gave me a quick tutorial using hand motions and language that went in one ear and out the other. What I love about her is that she doesn’t try to baby me. If I want something I have to do it myself. She is helping me to continue my independence. I submerged my clothes in the soapy water bucket and used my little shoe brush to try to scrub them clean. I probably didn’t do very well but the soapy water itself helped to remove dirt. I was only at this for about 10 minutes and my back was in knots. Sitting on a tiny stool hunched over a bucket of clothes isn’t my idea of fun. After I thought they were clean enough I put them in the bucket of clear water to rinse. Then I used the multifunctional Turkish toilet to wring out all the water. I used another dry bucket as a laundry basket to take my clothes to the roof to hang them out to dry. I felt like a colonial woman. Certain things in this experience feel like fantasy to me. Last night I was able to live out my fantasy of being a woman who lived in a time where the washing machine was not even and idea in anyone’s mind. However this is the reality of the women here in Morocco. I definably have a new definition now of what is dirty and clean. Seeing as this is how I have to do my laundry I am very selective of what I have to go through this for. Delicates and socks are clearly top priority. But pants and shirts can be worn for a very long time before hitting the soap. Furthermore, hand washing and air drying is not kind to clothes so if I want to keep them in as best condition as possible I must baby them.

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