Senegal’s Version of a Washer

Sorry, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve rewritten my “gender roles” post 3 times and just don’t think it’s ready yet, so in the meantime enjoy this post about how to do laundry in Senegal.

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First, we start by separating laundry.

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Next we fill each bucket with water and line them up in order…

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We typically start by a water bucket where we dip the clothes before going to soap to prevent soap stains. If we’re washing whites we’ll add 2 extra buckets for bleach and washing.

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We use bar soap made from local peanut oil to wash clothes. Sometimes we’ll add powder detergent. We either scrub with wash boards, hands, or a brush. My forearms have become much stronger doing this.

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Lastly, we rinse with an all water bucket, and wring the clothes dry and hang them on the line.

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Sometimes when it’s windy, clothes blow off the line, so clips are super important. When clothes are dry, locals like to iron them because air drying can lead to lots of wrinkles, but being a PCV, clean clothes are all that I care about, and ironing is just too time consuming, so I go without it. For the most part, I’ve only seen electric irons at tailors in the city. Most families have one that looks like this.

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They use coal to heat the iron instead of electricity. Then clothes are folded and put away! That’s it, simple enough? Not really, doing laundry is an all day task. I will never take a Washer/Dryer for granted again. The other thing is clothes get stretched out much faster. There are no dryers to reshrink jeans or cotton shirts. No doubt. this lifestyle is not easy.

Tiffany

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