Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Laundry Day

Fill the pig tail buckets with laundry, consisting mostly of diapers.  Make your way down to the river, each girl with 2 buckets, and a bar of Dona Blanca laundry soap.  Don't let the weight of the buckets pull you forward too fast; you will lose your footing on the steep, unpredictable path if you go too quickly.  Watch out for sharp rocks, large thorns, or anything that could jab your bare feet.  Watch out for snakes, they like to sunbathe across the narrow path to the river.

When you reach the river, empty the buckets of laundry on the river's edge, just where the water can't reach them.  Find a spot in the shallow water to place your empty buckets, a spot that is flat, and not near the rushing water which would pull the now light pig tail buckets over the edge of the waterfall, also sending you over the waterfall to retrieve it; don't lose that mother-rass bucket!  Find a nice rock, one that is only partially submerged in the river, one that has a flat surface, with a slight slant.  Use your bar of Dona Blanca to scrub the slime and algae off the rock.  Now your rock is ready for scrubbing clothes and diapers.  

Grab an item of clothes from the river bank.  Lather the clothes up with soap, be very careful not to lose grip on the slippery bar of soap or it could be swept underwater and down the waterfall, also sending you over the waterfall to retrieve it, don't lose that mother-rass bar of soap either!  Scrub those clothes on the rock, dip them in the water every few scrubs to get them sudsy again.  After scrubbing, it's time to wring out the water.  Wring them and wring them and wring them; it is a long steep climb back up the hill, and the more water you get out, the lighter the load will be.  Once the laundry is washed and wrung, put it back in the pig tail bucket.

When washing the dirty diapers, before you scrub them on the rock, you'll have to get the poop out.  Grip the diaper by one clean corner, and hold it in the waterfall, the force of the water will wash the poop away.

Watch out for snakes, they like to take a refreshing swim in the river.  Watch out for spiral snails, and their sharp, slimy shells, if you step on one, they can puncture your foot, and cause a nasty infection, and a scar you'll have for life.  Watch out for people, you are young girls under thirteen, if anyone wandering near the river knows you are alone, they could harm you.

If you want a quick snack for later, lay a clean diaper on the bottom of the shallow part of the river, away from the current.  Small shrimp will gather on the white cloth; pull it up quickly, bringing the ends of the cloth together fast, and you'll have a nice handful of shrimp, you can cook in the coals later, and eat them privately, just you two girls.  If you are hungry right now, climb a coconut tree near the river bank, and twist off a green coconut.  Break it open on a rock, and you'll have some cool coco water to drink and some jelly-like coconut flesh to eat as treat.

Now you'll have to get back up the steep hill with your wet laundry.  If you leave it to dry near the river, the Indians will take it.  Drape the wet diapers all over yourself.  Put some on your shoulders, around your waist, wrap some around your head, some across your neck.  The less diapers and laundry in the bucket, the better.  With some of the diaper's weight distributed across your body, the buckets will be possible to carry.  Keep going, no matter how heavy your load feels.  Don't let any of the diapers fall off your body and on to the ground, they are still wet and dirt will stick to them.  Don't forget to watch out for the mother-rass snakes.  Watch out for haul-un-back bushes, their thorns will snag your clothes and cut your skin.  Keep going, you're almost there.  When you get to the top, hang the wet clothes and diapers on the clothes line to dry.  Make sure you have done all this in under two hours, or you're in big trouble.  Don't worry, laundry day is only twice a week.

~ Rosanna Forman 

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