Thursday, October 10, 2013
Of washers and rats
Imagine you and your husband are full time teachers on the mission field and the simplest, pared-down, day-to-day living takes much longer than it does in North America.
Imagine you have extracurricular duties, and papers to grade, and lesson plans to make, family meals to prepare (mostly from scratch), and you have three active kids at home—kids that often need a change of clean clothes—so keeping up with the laundry is a must.
Doing laundry can be a huge challenge on the mission field—beginning with water: having it when you need it can be a mysterious, maddening, maze-like, tear-inducing process.
Besides water, you need something to wash your laundry in, something to rinse it in, and a place to dry it.
For example, my friend Marge, who moved to a Mexican village last month, solved her laundry needs by carrying it down a hill—on muddy paths, since they’ve had a lot of rain recently—where there’s a washer and dryer as well as clotheslines.
But doing laundry is about more than having water and a washing machine.
It’s also about having electricity.
Let me introduce you to my dear friends, Mary and Larry. They are the busy, busy teachers and parents I described above.
I asked you to walk a mile in their shoes. Continue schlepping with them:
Their washer had been getting more and more sluggish. They feared it was the timing mechanism, a huge expense, so they kept forcing their ailing washer to keep at it for just a little while longer.
Then the electricity went off at their house for some mysterious reason, which meant their water pump wasn't functioning either.
But on one of those rare occasions when they had both electricity and water, the washer quit altogether.
They had a triple-whammy going on: No electricity, no water, and a broken washer.
So I volunteered to do their laundry at my house. I usually had both water and electricity, and I had a new washer.
(When we returned to Kenya after furlough and moved to a different place, we bit the bullet and bought an automatic washer. It was a European brand—or maybe Korean?—and it did a better job than any washer I ever had in the States. Having used an old wringer washer up to that time, I was really excited about the new washer. It was truly a joy to do laundry! I did sort of worry, though, about the brand name: "Fuzzy Logic.")
One day Mary told me the final chapter in their washing machine story.
They eventually took it to the repair shop, fearing the worst.
Come to find out, because the washer lived outside in the carport, a rat had no problem climbing into the timing mechanism. It had been electrocuted and was stuck up inside the washer, causing its sluggishness.
That's the bad news. The good news was that the repair bill wasn't nearly as expensive as they'd originally feared!