Sunday, March 01, 2009

day 12: tenuous harmony

The MD couldn't have been better, just as long as you can refrain from comparing anything here to anything in the States. The clinic was tiny and clean, the doctor was lovely. He talked with M, showed her everything he was going to do before doing it, asked a number of questions and used high tech equipment like a magnifying glass. He determines she needs an antibiotic and scratched a note on a paper. We take the note next door and we are handed a bottle, the woman tells me to read the directions and reconstitute it at home. The whole thing cost $40 US, our co pay at home was nearly that AND the medicine was more. So with a degree of trepidation and a bit of what the fucking hell I am not a chemist I go home and reconstitute. I apparently do a good job because 2 days later, her thumb (and her cough, apparently they were related) are good as new. But enough about that, let me tell you about how laundry works here because it's waaaay more jacked up than the doctor.

So we have this plastic machine on our porch, there are three dials and two bins for holding clothes. One says wash/rinse/drain and one says spin, and one is a timer that is 9 minutes long. I put the dial on wash/rinse and put a garden hose (I am not kidding) into the bin and some soap powder and fill it up. It swooshes the clothes around a bit and then the timer runs out. So I turn the dial to drain and the water drains out. Then I put the dial back on wash/rinse and fill the bin up again and set the timer again. Repeat with the swooshing minus the soap. Then I turn the dial to drain again. You get the picture here, yes? Then I squeeze the excess water and put the clothes in the other bin and turn the timer again and it spins with a rather shocking velocity. Then I remove the clothes and hang them on a line between two trees. This is my life, I wash then drain then rinse then swoosh then spin then hang and sometimes if I really quite unlucky I forget the clothes on the line when the rain comes. There's a consciousness to it, a determination.

That's what I am finding about a lot of things here, it's harder to do things and so the doing makes you more aware, and you live more in the moment, and in that moment a load of laundry feels like a really big deal. Everything is like that, a sort of tenuous harmony, whether it's with people or food or machinery, it all seems to be held together with duct tape and toothpicks and no one quite seems to mind.

I am running out of my alloted internet time and there's more to say so next I'll be writing about how a group of villagers have asked me to help them with doing planning for their new and fledgling non profit, they don't call it that but that's the best way to explain it, a mix of Mayans and villagers and Belizean-Americans together, and we start next week. It happened at random but now I've said yes and while volunteering won't pay the bills it seems like a good place to start.

Still no connection at home, meaning limited access and I can't post pictures and i fact I'm not even proofreading so forgive me. I keep hearing it's coming soon and I can't wait, so I can get back to blog reading and actually showing you our digs!

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24 comments:

Madge said...

living in the moment -- you are helping me do that here by telling me about what is happening there.

Karen said...

A more laid back life includes a more laid back way of life. I can't wait to see a picture of that washing machine.

With all the planning and dreaming about selling our house and living fulltime in an RV, my husband and I NEVER gave a thought about laundry until the first time we had to go to a laundromat. It's just a thing we had to learn to live with. Now, instead of doing laundry every day, we bought enough socks and underwear to last 14 days.

Anonymous said...

Yes to all of it. The duct tape and the faith to reconstitute, trust other people, in your journey & that the shocking velocity will eventually result in clean clothes.
I have used one of those machines. Often resorted to the bucket & board method which I find equally soothing & rewarding. Best of all is the laundry on the line.
Keep sending postcards!
~ EarnestGirl
http://twitter.com/home

Z said...

That sounds like my mother's first twin-tub washing machine. I say 'my mother's ' - she hated it and refused to use it and my father had to do the washing. He enjoyed it. He used long wooden tongs to handle the hot clothes.

Amber said...

Hooray for the volunteer gig! Like you say, it seems like a good place to start. I'm excited that things like this are already happening for you. :)

And I'm glad M is doing better. Good job on the reconstituting, that would probably freak me out too.

Omaha Mama said...

Is it strange that to me, this all sounds wonderful? Something about the work of it. The day to day learning. It all fascinates me. You are a great writer, spell check or no. :0)

de said...

glad that M is already better. Seems to me that it's good, this separation of you and the internet. One more thing helping you slow way down.

luckyzmom said...

I love me some adventure and this is fascinating. Thank you for going through the time and cost for us.

Cecilieaux said...

Re internet time: Have you considered blogging off-line then copying and pasting, or even e-mailing to blogger? Write offline then use your Internet time only for the transactions of uploading and downloading.

I've heard of what M had. It's a plant-related infection. It occurs even in the States. I forget its name.

Kyla said...

This is good vicarious living. Glad M is on the up and up. Glad there is a good doctor nearby.

BOSSY said...

Hard but so very cool.

Expatriate Chef said...

I will send school supplies. And, I am glad to know that I am not the only one who inhales her child's hair.

Having lived in a double wide, in a mangrove swamp where we made our own drinking water, I hear you. Life is different. Running low on food between planes, no phone, no TV (not a bad thing). It will change how you look at every thing even if you come home in a month.

Hang tough. I can't imagine doing that with a kiddo, but kudos to you.

You should pitch your story for a book deal. That would pay the bills.

mommyknows said...

HA! Laundry sounds time consuming :) I love your posts. I can't wait for photos.

flutter said...

I am rapt in this life of yours, sweet jen

Bianka said...

I want to see a picture of your washing machine! I often think how 'fun' it'd be to do my laundry with a washboard and bucket, Little House on the Prairie style.. perhaps not?

Gwen said...

You sound like you're adjusting philosophically, jen, and it's cool to read about.

We would have killed for a washing machine like that back in the day. Or at least our "helper," who washed all our clothes in the river every day, would have.

Have you considered a maid? :)

Ally said...

Jen, I am love love LOVING reading about your life. Thank for you giving us the details-- and keep it coming! I'm glad M's finger (and cough) are better.

Ruth Dynamite said...

I'm riveted, Jen, and thinking of you. Be well. Use bug spray.

painted maypole said...

how about typing your posts pre-internet into some sort of word document, and then copying and pasting onto blogger when you are online?

just a thought. ;)

glad M is healed

bgirl said...

living more mindfully, intentionally. i like it. the laundry description...love it.

mamatulip said...

The same word keeps popping up in my head and I know I keep saying it, this same word, over and over again in this comments box, but...

wow.

What an experience you are having. What a life!

alejna said...

I'm fascinated by your laundry rigamarole. I'll think of it whenever I complain about doing laundry with my fancy machines.

I'll still complain though.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

that sounds like the washing machine we had on the boat in the bering sea. It's pretty functional actually. But yeah, a lot of work.

carrie said...

My god, for no proof reading, you are doing so well! I'd be unreadable if it were me.

I'm going to adopt your way of purpose the next time I do laundry...and savor every last little minute detail. At least I will try, so thank you friend in the jungle, for that.