My Grandmother French was a strong, bright woman. My Grandfather died in a farm machine accident when my Father was about 10 years old. My Grandmother raised three children and continued to farm the walnut orchard they had started. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother on the farm. I still remember how HOT the farmhouse got during the summers in the San Joaquin valley. The house was “cooled” with an old swamp cooler in the living room. I learned to sew from my Grandmother. She had a foot treadle sewing machine, now in our living room in Beverly. She taught me to use it. She taught me how to wash dishes, conserve water, and put them away. On the back porch, she taught me how to do laundry. She had an old round tub washing machine that washed the clothes.Then we put the clothes through the ringer to get as much of the water out at as possible and to be sure they were rinsed well. Then we trudged outside with our clean bundle and hung it all up to dry in the sunshine. She told me that the sun was an important part of the cleaning process to make clothes smell fresh.
Living in Nicaragua brings me back to my Grandmother. It is HOT here, too, but I do have an air conditioner in my bedroom window. The dishes are washed in the kitchen sink, dried and put away. I’m not sure there are automatic dishwashers even in the very wealthy households. Those households have staff that do all of the cleaning and chores. Most laundry is washed by hand. My apartment has an outside laundry, cleaning, and line drying space. This set up is pretty standard. Fresh water is run and collected on one side of the stand. The other side of the stand has a stone or cement ridged piece. A small plastic bowl is used to scoop the fresh water on the garment and washing stone. The laundry soap is a round bar of hard soap. It comes in several scents. Wet the item. rub soap all over it, and scrub the item on the ridged section. Then scoop water from the fresh water basin and begin rinsing while scrubbing some more. More fresh water and the item is really clean. Wring it out and hang it up to dry. Don’t forget to wash the sheets and towels, too. My Grandmother would definitely approve.
The process of daily life–shopping frequently because there are not large refrigerators, keeping up with the laundry by hand, keeping the home clean from dust, pollen, spiders and cockroaches–is time consuming. I cannot imagine being a working mother here, yet many women are. I find doing the laundry a pleasure because I get to play in the water and cool off. I look at it as a good upper body work out. But, I don’t have a whole family to keep clean and look after.
This week I spent only one day in the Clinica El Samaitano. They already have a good staff and don’t really need my help. I appreciate being able to keep up my skills, though. The rest of the time I spent orienting and starting to work on reviewing grant reports.
Yesterday, we visited the Baptist Hogai Senil (Baptist Nursing Home for the Elderly). AMOS writes a White Cross grant for $3,000 each year to purchase medications and health care supplies for them. This is one of the grants I am helping with. The Hogai Senil is a safe place for families to send their elders if they are unable to care for them. These families pay a fee. The government also sends elders who have been abandoned and need care. Like most ministries, the Hogai Senil runs on a very thin shoe string. The support from White Crisis is crucial for the men and women living there. This is just one more example of how AMOS networks within the greater community.
White Cross is a ministry of the American Baptist Churches. It grew out of assistance efforts during WWII. It is predominately supported through the efforts of the American Baptist Women USA (ABW-USA). For more information about White Cross visit this link ABC White Cross. For more information about the work of American Baptist Women check out their web pages at ABW Ministries.
Thank you to all of the muy fuerte women in my life!