Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Yesterday I learned how to hand wash. We were taking the day off of work to go to a funeral, but Mama and Baba left very early in the morning and I had no means of getting there. Instead, I spent the day working from home and cleaning the house because with two working parents and no house girl, things can get a little behind sometimes. I had some clothes that needed washing, so I learned how to hand wash. Mama Mkubwa, the woman who I wrote about a while back, the one with the distinct motherly charm, was helping in the garden that day and she showed me how. You fill a bucket with water and pour some detergent in and swash it around with your hands. Then you put the same colors in together (brights, lights, darks) and take the cloth in both hands and rub each spot against the palm of your left hand, right below your thumb. You do this for every part of the shirt or pants until they are clean, then you put them in a rinse bin with fabric softener for two to three minutes, and hang them out to dry.
It was tough work – it took me almost two and a half hours and I was sweaty when I finished. I didn’t realize until the next morning that the pressure against the corners of my finger nails made the nails cut into my fingers until they were all bleeding. Oddly, however I enjoyed it. It was soothing. The sound of the water lapping against the sides of the bucket was rhythmic and the cool shock of it sometimes splashing me was refreshing in the most base of ways. It felt good to know I had done it by myself – no help from a machine and that I knew how. The next morning I woke up early and proudly ironed the clothes to complete the process.

That same day, Princely told me that Mama Mkubwa had approached him about a month ago asking if he had any extra clothes because she knew of some teenagers in desperate need. I am leaving for home in just over a half month, so I was so glad that he turned her to me. I took Mama into my room and we sorted through my clothes and she took about half of them. I am going to give her some more on Monday when I go to Joy Girls because she will be at Zoe Babies, which is right next-door. It felt so wonderful – I gave her clothes and materials for the girls and then a new toothbrush and shampoo and body wash for her. It made her day.
Just as excited as she was to receive the gifts, she was sad at the mention of me leaving. She said that it’s like when a baby is adopted from Zoe, you’re so glad that they’ll have a family but it’s impossible to watch them go. This made my day. Those kids at Zoe are like her children, and to think that she associated me with them broke my heart in the happiest of ways. She said she would feel like something is missing when she comes to the Shoo home in December and I’m not there, and that visitors shouldn’t be allowed to stay for more than a month so that you don’t grow to love them.

I’m going to miss this place. Thank God I’m coming back…

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