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clothesline

Today I got to that point where I could no longer put off washing my clothes.  So I biked ten minutes to the store (yep, it’s fixed!! :D) to get some detergent powder and was well on my way.  At Mitra we have to hand wash our clothes, so I filled the bucket with water, put in (too much) soap, and let it all soak for an hour after some serious swishing and a little bit of scrubbing. 

Rinsing was a bit more of a challenge because of the excess detergent.  I turned on the spiket and drenched each garment in water, my hands slippery from the soap.  Just as I was thinking about how this couldn’t save all that much water compared to a washing machine, Usha came out and yelled at me to use the bucket.  She didn’t exactly yell; Usha, the woman who manages Mitra youth hostle, is like the mother of the place. She can’t be more than thirty, but she has that air of command about her, so that all she has to say is ” Maggie, use the bucket.  Don’t waste water,” and I was scrambling to turn off the hose.  Rinsing the clothes in the bucket meant that it would be impossible for me to get all of the soap off, but so it goes.  Maybe they won’t be too bad once they’re dry. 

Ringing out my pants and shirts was the hardest part, and that wasn’t even all that bad.  Then they all went on the clothes line and that was that.  The one thing necessary for washing clothes in this way is plenty of idle time, but with only four hours of farm work in the early morning(6:15), I have time to spare.  I’ll tell you what though; I will not be washing anything until it’s absolutely necessary, something that might not fly back home, but is perfectly normal here.  It’s something I can certainly get used to.

clothes

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