Friday, November 10, 2006


This is our semi-automatic washing machine, the standard around here (there's even a picture of a semi-automatic washing machine on the laundry detergent boxes). The first month we were here, I was absolutely horrified by it and certain that I would never be able to keep up with our family's laundry. It holds only tiny batches of clothing and requires me to act at every stage of the washing and rinsing process: turning on
the water, turning off the water, turning on the tub to agitate (it does do the agitating by itself), draining the tub, refilling the tub, moving all the clothes over to the spinning tub, etc. I've come to peace with the thing now and am actually used to it (though I can't tell you how often I've come into the bathroom to discover the washing machine overflowing into the tub because I've forgotten to turn off the tap). I guess you can get used to just about anything.

We hang clothes outside to dry. It seems like they dry almost before I'm done hanging the batch. (That wire snaking across the front of the picture is our phone line--it enters through the balcony window. We have to duck every time we go on the balcony to avoid yanking it out and losing all contact with the world outside Khartoum.)

3 comments:

Ted the younger said...

I've actually seen these machines stateside! In Atlanta there's a great grocery store that, besides groceries, sells everything from kitchenware, to clothes, to kitchy little toys. Until a recent renovation they also sold appliances, many without English labels or controls. I'd occasionally wander with my friend Jay and try to deduce the machines' functions. Alot of them turned out to be laundry machines, and some were very much like the washing machine you guys have, though others looked to be completely manual. Some were just as expensive as fully-automatic machines, and had digital displays (for timers?).

The store is in a part of Atlanta populated predominantly by immigrants from Latin America and Asia (mostly Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese) and their families. The appliances tended to be labeled in Korean if I recall correctly. Visiting this store always made me reflect on how different the details of even the most mundane tasks could be across cultural lines. And also on how much I love dried cuttlefish and Pocky! ;-)

Annette said...

What is Pocky?

Ruth said...

isn't pocky those little breadsticks dipped in chocolate or strawberry? i'm pretty sure i got some from a thai friend at my last school...