However, my mother’s true talent lies in doing laundry. And not only is she good at it, she LOVES IT. Really, it is almost a hobby for her. When I go back to visit my mom takes great joy in asking daily, “Do you have any laundry? I’m going to do some laundry today, so give me what you have. What about what you are wearing right now? Maybe I should wash it.” “I’m still wearing it.” “Well, take it off and I’ll wash it. You know no one does laundry as well as I do. My children are always the cleanest kids around.”
If my mother were to see me now she would disown me. Here in Botswana laundry is not so simple. The first challenge is the fact we have no grass, and lots of dirt. And we walk everywhere. So, by default our clothes get dirty very quickly. There is a reason everyone in Africa wears khaki. A friend of mine wore a pair of navy trousers to work one day and by the time he arrived it looked like he had spent the morning rolling around in the dirt. No doubt any local who saw him that day took one look and thought to themselves, "Tsk, tsk, rookie mistake."
In college all the laundry rooms on campus were full on Sunday nights because everyone would wait until the last minute and then realize they had no clean clothes to wear to class the following morning. Here procrastination isn’t an option. You have to plan ahead for two reasons: washing and drying. Once the wash is done you have to hang it outside to dry. And if you’ve never done this before, the television commercials that say, “Your clothes will be so soft and fresh it’s as if they were dried in the sun” are lies. Clothes which hang dry are stiff and scratchy, not soft.
But before you can enjoy your scratchy, dry clothes, they must be washed. This is not as easy as you might expect because they must be washed by hand. And not only are they washed by hand, but you have to ensure you plan ahead which day you will wash them because of water restrictions. We only have water four days a week here, so washing clothes, dishes, taking showers, or doing anything else involving water on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays is nearly impossible.
I’m not sure how many of you have actually done your laundry by hand before, but there is a certain amount of art involved in the process. Here is a video of me explaining and demonstrating how I do my laundry. Enjoy: