71 days until I have to leave T– and be in Rabat to close my service. That’s two months and 12 days. I’m continuing on a pattern of being ridiculously excited to return to America and also ridiculously heartbroken at the thought of leaving Morocco. Currently I’m in the heartbroken stage (like almost started crying during my girls’ Hindi Dancing Club yesterday because the time is coming when I won’t be able to hang out with them anymore), so I figured I’d cheer myself up by thinking about one of the biggest things I will NOT miss about Morocco.
And that is doing laundry by hand.
Because of my tendency to let laundry pile up for weeks until I have no clean clothes left – which is definitely a habit I had in the US – laundry day has always been an all-day process for me. In Morocco, however, instead of taking over four laundry machines and sitting on the laundromat’s free wifi for a couple hours, I’m glued to the house for pretty much a full day.
Our laundry machine here is a bright pink tub and a wooden washboard.
First step in my laundry process is to remember to buy detergent the day before. Tide (called “teed” here, the word for any sort of laundry soap, not necessarily the brand name stuff although that is what I usually end up buying) usually comes in packets that cover one of my laundry days, and since I never have the foresight to buy two packets at once, I always need to buy more so that I can start laundry early.
Laundry in the summer isn’t bad, because it’s so hot that I don’t mind being up to my elbows in water for the day. Also the sun dries everything in like an hour.
In the winter, however, the water is cold. The soap dries out my hands. And the sun, while still shining, doesn’t dry things nearly as fast, which means available clotheslines limits the number of loads that can be done.
The struggle. It is real.
So today I am doing laundry. My first load is soaking. I’m too lazy to provide the amount of agitation a laundry machine would, so I settle for letting things soak in soapy water for about 45 minutes, then scrubbing each thing on the washboard. Then rinsing everything twice or three times, which doesn’t get all the soap out, but most of it. Then wringing everything out by hand. Then hanging it upstairs on the roof while the second load soaks. If I’m lucky and it’s a warm day, some of the first load dries in time to make room for the second. Today is not a warm day.
The rest of the dirty water goes down the toilet,hopefully without socks or other small items.
The one good thing about this method is over time it basically destroys your clothes – I don’t think I have anything that doesn’t have holes in it – making it much easier to decide what not to take with me in April.
Stuff with holes is going to be used as rags in a thorough deep clean of the apartment. Stuff that is still wearable will be offered to volunteers in the area or to my host sisters. My plan is to leave T– with a week’s worth of clothes, many of which will then be retired to the trash once I arrive home.
It’s exciting stuff, getting rid of things you don’t need anymore. Also, counting down the number of times you have left doing laundry by hand before you get to a real washing machine. One down. How many to go? Not sure, but the light at the end of laundry tunnel is in sight.
America, I’m coming for your appliances.