As part of living on base, with no washing machine, you get to hand wash all of your clothes. This needs to be done quite often because the heavy heat and manual labor create sticky and smelly clothing. Yesterday, I had a huge pile of laundry sitting and waiting for me. I was avoiding it. Finally, I couldn’t take my smell any longer and I dived into the washing. I learned so many things in that hour of hand washing:
1. First of all, I like the work out/exercise that it provides (it really tones your arm muscles). I really worked up a sweat when I was scrubbing, soaking, hanging up, etc the clothes. It’s good exercise and it can defiantly get out some aggression that you may be having (I am not advocating to beat your clothes, but just suggesting doing laundry as an outlet for anger…).
2. Washing by hand reconnected me with my clothing and how many articles I have. Do I need this shirt? When the pile of laundry is overwhelming it may be a hint that I need to reduce the number of clothes I have. To live more simply with less things.
3. Washing my clothes gave me a greater appreciation for all that I have and the ability to have so many clothes to wear. It also reminded me of how much work Indian wives are forced to do because after feeding the kids in the morning and going to work they must come back and feed the kids dinner, as well as wash a large pile of laundry. It is no easy task beating the dirty shirts and pants, especially when you have to carry the water from a kilometer away.
3. I saved energy (and water?) by not using the washing machine.
4. I gained appreciation for the power of the washing machine and its ability to clean all your clothes in such a short period of time.
I have always enjoyed washing my clothes by hand and now will continue to do so as much as possible. I hope that others can find the beauty and relaxation in washing their clothes as well.