Sunday, October 21, 2012

La Lavadora Love

Responding to President Thomas S. Monson's recent conference address, I share the following experience.

During my sojourn here in Piura, I haven't had access to a washing machine. My colleague who lives in my building tried hiring a woman to wash her clothes. I too, thought this was a good solution. However, it was expensive and the woman didn't really do good job for my liking... and I know some of my clothes weren't each touched. As far as I knew, there weren't any laundromats. There were laundry services where you could drop your clothes off and pick them up, but it was far from me and the thought of lugging dirty laundry and paying for it didn't thrill me. That only left one option.  Hand wash. On the roof there is a sink, so I would hand wash all my clothes. Yet, my clothes and sheets would never quite come clean.

The language center's administrator offered to bring us a washer from his home in Trujillo - 6 hours away.  September passed and it hadn't worked out for the washer to get sent up.  Then, during the first week of October, the washer arrived.  The administrator had an opportunity to go to Trujillo and arrange the shipment of the washer to my landlord.
I feel like I'm in a rhetoric class...what do these symbols mean?

On Wednesday, the washer had arrived! It was a glorious site to see. It was hooked up Thursday. I'm glad I didn't have to lug that washer up the 3 flights of stairs.  My coworker washed a load of laundry.  On Friday, I attempted to do a load of laundry.  Yet, as I looked at the hieroglyphs on the washer, I couldn't figure out how to make it work. There were no words. Just letters and pictures. I tried every combination. Nothing. I got frustrated. I got angry. I tried checking the power, I turned it off and on again. I stomped my feet.

"I shouldn't have to be a rocket scientist to use this. How could I be so stupid? Why can't I make it work?"  I chastised myself.  It taunted me with the bright blue sticker that proclaimed "European Standards!"  Maybe that's why I couldn't get it to work. The washer must hate Americans.

Finally I gave up and went downstairs.  I'd have to ask my colleague.

Friday evening, I asked her how to use the washer and she just vaguely replied that it took her a while.

Saturday morning, I woke up early, and I simply included in my prayer that I hoped I could figure out how to use the washer. It was a simple and maybe even petty request among the huge problems in the world, yet it was important to me. I went back upstairs, and turned on the washer again and it fired right up. The same thing I did on Friday, worked on Saturday!  The water filled the washer drum and away it went.  I found that the "X" setting worked.

However, as I watched it for  few minutes, the power strip started to smoke and  burning smell filled the air.  I tried plugging the washer cord into another plug, but it smoked again.I unplugged everything and went downstairs. I had to look up how to say "smoke."  I got the landlord. He thought I was asking how to use the washer! And, of course, there was no smoke from the outlet!  He called up another tenant to translate and still there was no smoke.  As we talked, the cord started to smoke.The landlord brought up a heavy-duty power strip and finally, the washer was humming along.

After I came back from work, I had officially my first, full load of really clean laundry.  I thankfully hung the clothes on the line and I was so happy. I felt blessed. I came home after the Saturday afternoon session of conference. I gathered my clothes off the line. Oh, they smelled so fresh! They were so clean! The deodorant  stains from the arms of my shirts were gone!  

 This simple blessing of having access to a washing machine and having it work brought happiness and joy to me. It may seem to be such a simple thing to have a washing machine, but after months of washing by hand, it is a wonderful gift that my colleague Jose brought for us.

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