Laundry Day

Thank you to my good friend, Kelli, who told me about the current Fresh essay contest!  Please take a moment to view my entry and add a comment or two.  I’ve also posted a copy of it below – it’s a little difficult to read on the website with the small font:

“Laundry Day”

On Sunday mornings, the house is mine. The Waraos, my Kenyan family, are at church and I’m left with a jerry can of water, two basins, a sack of Omo and an empty clothesline. In a country where the notion of personal space is as foreign as my freckled nose, I welcome this solitary weekly ritual. I bend over to prepare my laundry.

The morning sun is strong but clouds will roll in by mid-afternoon as the seasons begin to shift, once again, from dry to wet. The water is still cool from the night as I pour a couple of inches into the green basin. Adding Omo, Kenya’s favorite detergent, the water becomes slippery and my clothes slimy as I scrub them together to create suds. Omo’s tangy scent coupled with the musty Kenyan red earth has the ability to overpower the strong, malodorous aroma of the surrounding slum. Closing my eyes I take a moment to listen to the African morning. From a nearby church come beautiful voices; rich and smooth, almost haunting. They rise together in song and soar over the screeching matatus and crying babies.

After a few hours I stand back and survey my clothes, swaying gently in the breeze, and smile with pride. My hands are red, raw and cracked from the harsh soap. My shoulders and arms ache from scrubbing and my thighs burn from bending over the basin. But my clothes are clean and, in a few hours, will be dry.


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