Washing laundry uses so much water. I had been letting it pile up in hopes that the water would return. Yesterday, however, we decided it was time to take matters into our own hands. Literally. The sun was shining for the first time in days. So we gathered up a week’s worth of laundry for six people, and Lacy and I walked a short distance to the river nearby our house. This river has been running pretty well for the past few months. However, after all the rain last week, it is running at probably four times its usual flow. There are always ladies and young girls doing laundry here, so we certainly weren’t alone. We brought our bucket, some soap, a scrub brush and a lot of elbow grease. We managed to wash a lot of laundry in about an hours time. When we brought it back to the house, we threw it in the washing machine for a spin cycle to save our hands from trying to wring it dry. Then it hung on the line over night and now it’s folded and ready to be put away. Does it get any more organic than that? I want to know if all the green, crunchy, eco-friendly folks are doing their laundry this way. If they aren't, I want to know why not.
This morning, we headed back over to the river to do the same thing — only today, diapers were our duty. Someday, I’m going to tell Sadie Kate that Aunt Lacy and I hand washed her diapers in the river in Mokhotlong. I’m going to tell her that she cannot misbehave because we’ve done too much for her needy little self. Joy was there helping us, as well as another girl who lives nearby. We finished the diapers and they are now in the machine for a spin cycle as well. I will probably spring for paper diapers to use until the water comes back on. I think she’s worth it. And I think our hands are worth it, too.
After washing diapers, Lacy decided to wash her hair in the waterfall. We have still been taking showers, albeit less often and more quickly. Nevertheless, running water and sunshine provides a good opportunity to get clean. I brought shampoo for that very purpose. She went first, then I followed suit. The water was so cold on our backs and we might’ve screamed the entire way through it. But we have clean hair. And fun memories.
Kyle or Gollum?
There is no way to estimate how long it will take for the water supply to be repaired. This is, after all, Africa and nothing happens quickly. Between river laundry and showers, I think we can manage to make our tank last at least another week. If it comes to it, we’ll make a plan then. For now, we are enjoying nature and the simplicity of washing in the river. Next up, muddy shoes!