Confessions of a Teenage Dirtbag.

Cooking with Awa several days ago. More on this story soon!

In the spirit of brutal honesty, I should confess that I need to do laundry.

No, really. The situation is rather dire. In approximately 24 hours, the only clean thing I own in this country will be an electric blue bathing suit.

And technically, I’m not supposed to wear that to work.

The daunting prospect of attempting to get my clothes clean makes me want to curl up in bed and eat jello pudding for a month of Sundays. However, given the minor detail that I don’t have a bed and I’m fresh out of pudding, the only thing left to do is laundry.

Now, as we’ve discussed, laundry in Dakar is done by hand, in the bathtub. As the weeks and months have marched on, I find that I am increasingly less committed to the countless hours of scrubbing necessary to really get my t-shirts clean, and more committed to not spending the whole of my Saturday splashing around the bathtub in that aforementioned bathing suit with every stitch of clothing that I own. After all, what is “clean” anyways? A spectrum, that’s what. And in Africa, as long as I fall somewhere on it, we’re going to consider it a win. Thus, “doing laundry” consists of throwing all of my earthly possessions in the bathtub, tossing an indeterminate amount of detergent on top, and then stomping atop the pile of miscellany like I saw Lucy do with the grapes on TV Land.

I know. My Mama raised me better than that.

And we haven’t even mentioned the sock travesty yet. Confession is cathartic, so here’s my inconvenient truth for the evening: I don’t wash my socks on this continent.

It’s true. But I tried, really I did. Dakar simply has a way of turning white socks a rather startling shade of black that refuses to come out no matter how hard you scrub. In the midst of a very sudsy fit last spring, I finally decided to wave the gray white flag of surrender and succumb to the grime. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the fateful day that I determined to make socks in Dakar disposable.

My carbon footprint might be visible from Pluto, but I wear socks for a week or so, and then toss them. [This environmentally irresponsible decision made possible by $5.99 jumbo packs at Target.]

I’m humiliated. I fully intend to buy a bike, throw away my shoes and start eating copious amounts of granola at the earliest possible opportunity.

But tomorrow. Tomorrow is a new day. A new month even! And tomorrow, I intend to scale Mount Kilamalaundry.

Or at least give it a good, long stare.

[KStew-Happy birthday. I love you through and through!]


  1. Kristin says:

    Thanks for the birthday shout out!

    Now go wash your unders. Girl. Let me know if you need me to send a shipment of new with the SP.

  2. Paha, you are sweet to offer! ;)

    I DID get some laundry done yesterday. Started, then the water cut off, so everything sat in a sudsy mess in the bathtub. The water came back on later in the evening, which was fantastic for the thirty seconds before it started pouring out chocolate brown all over my clothes.

    Whatever. I rinsed them with chocolate brown water and called it a day. ;)

    On skype last night, Kellan was like “So, you’re telling me that my jeans I haven’t washed in a month are cleaner than most of your clothes?”

    Hooooow embarassing.

  3. Ben Ober says:

    Kellan’s jeans are definitely cleaner. No question.

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