>When I was in First Grade, I played The Mother in the (very politically incorrect) play Tikki-Tikki Tembo. My main claim to fame was that I got to sing a song all by myself about washing clothes in the river. In fact, I can still sing it to this day. If you’re really lucky, maybe I’ll sing it for you someday (preferably after a few drinks.)
Fast forward approximately 13 years and the summer after my sophomore year in college I spent in El Salvador. I lived in the campo, about an hour’s busride away from the nearest washing machine. So I had to wash my clothes by hand. Luckily my host family had a special place to do this, called the “pila”. It kind of resembled a water trough, but had a little sink where you could wash, scrub and squeeze your clothes. The squeezing was the hardest part. Then I had to go up and hang them on the line, where the red ants lived. They invariably bit my feet and left huge red welts. After washing my clothes myself the first time, my abuelita decided that I wasn’t good at it. She was kind of right. Somehow my shirts still smelled like deodorant no matter how much I scrubbed. So she decided that she would wash my clothes. And she did a great job.
Fast foward approximately 8 months and I found myself here in Chile, where my host mom not only washed my clothes but also IRONED them…everything…even my socks. I felt so spoiled. Luckily she had a special place to do this, called a washing machine. No dryer, but the Chilean sun in the summer dried the clothes in no time.
Fast forward a year and half and here I am, back in Chile. While my family is gone, I have to do my own laundry (I sound like such a spoiled brat.) Luckily, I also have access to that wonderful machine as well. No more hand washing for me (or so I thought). Today I woke up kind of early (okay that’s a total lie…I got up at 11:30) and put my clothes in the washing machine, added the detergent, turned it on. Everything was going swimmingly. I returned to my room and starting working. I went down about an hour later and opened up the machine, expecting to find my clothes nicely washed, rinced and spun.
Nope. The machine was still filled with water and detergent. I tried to turn it on again. Nada. I unplugged it and plugged it back in again. Nada. I switched all the settings. Nada.
So I asked my host brother to look at it. He didn’t know what was wrong.
So today I had to finish washing my clothes by hand, except this time I didn’t have a pila. But I did find myself humming that song from back in 1st grade.
Every day I wash the clothes
My sons get dirty from head to toe
There’s mud on their pants
Food on their shirt
This mother gets tired of washing out dirt!
I wash and scrub and squeeze
Always on my knees