On my recent trip to Haiti, I volunteered to help Emma with one of her chores. Laundry in Haiti isn’t as easy as loading clothes into a machine, pushing a button, and sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee.
It’s hard work!
American visitors aren’t expected to help with chores, and my actions sparked a lot of scuttlebutt around the school. Within minutes, little girls came running toward the laundry area to watch this American help wash clothes.
The older women, whose main responsibility is washing laundry for all of the children at the school, were so kind to teach me the right method. The brought me a stick of soap and showed me how to cut it with a spoon. Through gestures, they demonstrated the scrubbing technique needed to make the clothes clean and to remove stains.
Emma was tickled to have a friend helping her. She giggled as I tried to mimic the new-to-me washing technique. If she didn’t approve of the cleanliness of the garment I was working on, she would tell me do re-scrub it.
Several hours later, my hands were raw from the harsh soap and my back was aching from leaning over the wash tub, but the laundry was done and hanging on the line to dry. I was exhausted.
That night I was eager to thank God for the opportunity to serve at the school AND for electric washing machines in the U.S.