Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Luxury of Getting Dirty

The day after I got back from Tanzania was Sabbath, and we went on our customary Sabbath afternoon walk. I was surprised at myself, for every time I accidentally stepped in mud, or walked into a spider web, or brushed up against a dirty tree, I felt really icky. I thought to myself, “When did I become so prissy? These things never used to bother me so much before.”

At one point Joshua fell and in my rush to comfort him, I slipped and fell on my bum in a puddle of water. I was almost inconsolable. Then I realized what was going on. In Tanzania, there were very few washing machines, and almost no clothes dryers. And I have already described the shower situation.

We all ran out of clean clothes before the trip was up. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Why didn’t you wash your clothes like all the other people do, by hand?” Well, you have a valid point, except that we never stayed in one spot long enough for our laundry to dry. As it was we were washing underwear and socks in the sinks at our various hotels, and wearing them slightly damp if necessary. So you knew that once your clothes got dirty, they were going to stay that way until you got home.

I had developed a dirt phobia. Once I realized that, I just kept telling myself, “its ok, you can shower when you get home; you can wash your clothes when you get home.” I made everyone wait for supper while I had a shower and changed, even though before my trip I wouldn’t have bothered. As time goes by, as I said about the water, I am remembering that I can drink water anytime I’m thirsty, and I can afford to get dirty. But boy, is it a luxury.

The boys in this picture probably gave up trying to keep clean. I think their shirts used to be white!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't imagine not being able to get clean daily. I don't know how these families manage like this on a daily basis.