Washing Clothes

Okay so as I was mentally preparing to embark on this adventure of ‘Living in West Africa’ I knew that there was going to be many things that I had never done that I would need to learn. One of those things was learning how to wash my clothes by hand. Now for my African friends this may seem silly or trivial but this was something I really wanted to accomplish.
Once I got to Alidas house, the friend whom I am staying with in Togo, I knew this was my opportunity to learn. As an added bonus, God even sent me a teacher, Mimouna to help me with my new skills. Her name is Mimouna and she is seven years old. She is what they call a ‘house mate’ and she comes from a village 12 hours away from Lome in Northern Togo. She helps out around the house (cleaning, cooking, washing, etc) and then gets some schooling in the evening. I know for some of us this may see a bit cruel but a lot of these ‘housemates’, their families are unable to provide for them even with basic needs so it is actually more beneficial for them to go into a place where they can get basic needs plus skills training. Anyway so yeah my amazing teacher is a 7 year-old little girl in which the only way we communicate is through gestures since I speak English and she speaks a Togolese dialect.

Alright back to clothes washing. So the third day at Alida’s house my smelly clothes were piling up, so I decided it was time to give this clothes-washing thing a try. I gathered all my stuff and walked to the back cemented area. Mimouna was close behind ready to give instructions. Off I went. Smelly clothes in basin. Pour water over clothes. Add Omo (detergent). Scrub, smoosh, squeeze, dirty clothes. Ring out soap. Place in clean water. Rinse clothes. Ring clothes. Hang on wall to dry.
As I hung up my last sock I was beaming with pride. I did it! I washed my clothes. Yay! The next morning I went out to collect my clothes and as I pulled them down I took in a big wiff of my hand washed clothes. As the scent filled my nose I started to gag. Ohhh noooo!! Guess I didn’t do as good of a job as I thought. ALL of my clothes still smelled like sweaty stinky Becca. I grabbed Mimouna and had her take a small sniff she rubbed her nose politely and then smiled. Time to wash my clothes again.
Sooooo I did the whole process all over again. Smelly clothes in basin. Pour water. …etc….. Hang on wall to dry. This time when I did the scrub, smoosh, squeeze, thing I did it WICKED hard. When I had finished this time I KNEW that I had done a good job. My hands hurt, my back hurt, my legs hurt. Yep that means I did a good job!
So about 6 hours later I went out to grab my CLEAN clothes and took a big wiff. Awwww, fresh, clean, Becca washed clothes!!
I grabbed Mimouna and had her take a BIG sniff and the smile on her face assured me that I had done a good job. Hooray!

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