When I reflect upon my life, I always try to see it from the perspective of an outside force.
Because truly, no one else’s perspective matters. I no longer question “why” I went through or go through things. I just accept my challenges and blessings as they present themselves.
Also really grateful I haven’t been married/had the need to and that I have no kids.
I’ve learned to wash my clothes on rocks since as early as I can remember, probably 10 years old I started to really get the knack of it and at 17, I was pretty skilled.
At 17, I had already made friends with other indigenous and mestizo girls my age from my grandparent’s village. My cousin, them, and I would go as a group together down to the riverbank, hauling either a sack or cart-full of laundry as we walked down the unpaved roads.
We’d be laughing, joking about, well, teenage girl things. Our favorite time to go was about an hour or two before dusk. We knew they’d be almost no “Ama de casas” during the early evenings, meaning we could be free to talk about what we please without fear of being eavesdropped.
I didn’t care about others hearing my conversations, but then again I didn’t live there year-round and being a USC gave me a pass on many things that would be considered offensive if done by others.
The Sun never seems to want to go away when you’re near the equator, I’m glad there are parts on Earth that relatively unscathed by European bull shit.
Our favorite parts of the banks are were the water was the calmest and not so deep. Out of our group of 3-5 girls, only another girl and myself could swim. Both her and I were able to dive into the deeps of the river and find the best rocks to throw and scrub our dirty clothes on.
I recall diving and finding the perfect slab, a bit porous, but not overly so, just enough to be abrasive. I’d grab the slab with both my hands, wiggling it around, and prying it up from the sandy bottom without disturbing the water or bottom too much. Its hard for me to imagine that I actually could go longer than 2 minutes under water while making an extraneous effort to lift a 20 pound slab of rock stuck in clay and sand. It was no deeper than 10-12 feet underwater, but my cousin and the other girls were afraid of the current.
I’d usually help my cousin and dive one for her as well, but sometimes she was a bitch and it was sweet revenge to see her wash her clothes on a not so perfect rock or a boulder.
The best slab should be about 2-3 feet long and wide.
We’d place them against the roots of a tree if the river was overgrown or against a boulder, ensuring ourselves it was sturdy before continuing with our task. Optimal condition is when the river is a little overflowing, enough that the water is at or just above our knees.
- Hardest articles should be washed first, as to not tire yourself too quickly. Things such as jeans or towels. (if you were lucky though, your parents owned a small plug in washer for towels and blankets)
- You submerge the article of clothing completely, or you had a little bowl to use to scoop up water from the river to pour over the clothes.
- All about arm strength, baby. You sprinkle laundry detergent over your clothes and use every muscle in your arm to froth the article back and forth, flipping it over after your done with one side.
- Once it is all frothy and suddy, you can either submerge it in the water or use the bowl again.
- You twist and squeeze the article until it is barely dripping any water and you throw it into a clean large bucket, sack, or cart.
Maybe some will argue that this is polluting, but I’ll counter argue that polluting is when governments allow transnational corporations to use these same rivers to dump their waste.
If I ever went in the mornings, it was with my grandmother. It was like, a communal event to wash your clothes in the river in the mornings. Almost every woman in town would be there, if she wasn’t there already yesterday. Some would be done with their laundry for the day, sitting at the high banks breast feeding their baby or catching up with a friend or sister. Some women, mostly the older ones, would go shirtless or completely sans-bra. It was a safe place, free of judgement. No men. The only males there, if any, were under 5 years of age.
I never experienced anything as similar to that, and I don’t think I ever will again.
I can thank transnational corporations (again), narcos, and politics for that.
Hate men, mostly white, rich men. You ruin everything. I enjoy ruining your cookie-cut life.