Posted by: Lisa | September 23, 2011

Washing Woes

One of the most difficult things for me to adjust to here in Chipata has been the washing machine issues. And with three children 4 years old and under, we need to be able to get clothes clean!

The first several weeks here I learned that my washer only spins when the power is very close to 220v. Chipata is known for low voltage issues, so the power was only “high enough” between 10pm and 6am. So I’d start a load of wash before going to bed at 10pm, and dry it the next day. One load a day was barely cutting it for us, but we managed if we didn’t wash sheets. 🙂 If we were especially behind, (or wanted clean sheets!) I could throw a second load in at 5am so that it would hit the spin cycle before 6am when the power dropped again. When I felt overwhelmed by the constant mountain of laundry, I’d thank the Lord that at least it was eventually getting clean and I didn’t need to use a washboard. Hang wringing entire loads of laundry is NOT easy! Ask me how I know. 🙂

Well, praise the Lord, the power company put in another transformer! And after only living here for about 5-6 weeks! I thought to myself, “That was a short trial!” as I threw a load of laundry in anytime I wanted! There’s still a small dip around dinner time, but that is super easy to work around! Effortless clean clothes, what a blessing!

I was enjoying the bliss of an empty laundry basket for a few days when…

The water valve on our washing machine stuck. The water doesn’t turn off on its own anymore. It may have to do with the washer being on the back porch and dust being blown into all the little working parts. If I knew what to clean, I’d try, but I’m no mechanic…

So, now when I do laundry I set the timer to remind me to open and close the water valve manually for the wash and rinse cycle, or we end up with a little pond on the back porch. (Which I’m sure the kids would love playing in- and dirtying more clothes in!) Teaching school? Nursing the baby? Potty training emergency? Still have to stop and go turn that knob! What I find the most inconvenient, though, is no more throwing a load in before leaving the house.

The good news? I’ve figured out a way to keep the children’s clothes fairly clean for almost a whole day!


Daddy’s extra t-shirts cover it all! On second thought, does anyone have a washboard I can use? 🙂

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