Chores are a Chore

I don’t mind chores. In fact, I find them mildly therapeutic and de-stressing. And a mess just feels…frustrating. I can’t concentrate without things being tidy. Even if it is organized chaos. It is organized. Like a little dwarf housewife (cue movie reference), I enjoy cooking, laundry, and general cleaning. That’s when I had a proper kitchen, washer/dryer, vacuum cleaner, and other modern household cleaning appliances. Chores were something that were quick and easy, gave me warm, fuzzy feeling.

Here, a chore is as the name implies. A lot less therapeutic, and a lot more of a workout. Before I could go a day or two without “deep cleaning” (like vacuuming) and overall the tidiness of my house was not affected. Here, if I didn’t sweep twice a day there would be a fine layer of dirt covering my floors. Washing my dishes means going outside and cleaning them between buckets of cold water. My laundry is no longer an easy task rewarded with the smell of fresh clean clothes. Instead I wash my clothes by hand and hang them to dry, which makes them less fluffy. To even get water I fetch it from the rain catchment on the side of my house 20L at a time and once a week I sanitize 100L to store for drinking, cooking, and rinsing dishes.

My typical “deep cleaning” weekend of chores. Usually lasts the major portion of the day and leaves me tired, sweaty since it is typically very hot here, and it’s a lot of work, bending and lifting heavy buckets from one place to the other. I definitely appreciate the convenience of modern cleaning equipment, having clean water available with the turn of a knob, the simple pleasure of a washing machine/dryer.

I don’t mind the extra work, it keeps me busy if I have nothing to do, and it is for my greater survival and personal happiness. No water to drink or cook with if I didn’t clean it. With so much dust and sweat my clothes can’t go a week without washing. Little critters and bugs become household guests if you don’t habitually clean everyday, including all the nooks and crannies. I hate spiders, they live here in abundance. Not to mention the frogs, bats, beetles, ants, mosquitoes, and whatever other creature comes in from the small cracks in my mud house, or the space under the door.

Yes, here chores are a chore. So now instead of my therapeutic house cleaning, I have adapted and chores have become my second workout in a day. Exercise is just as therapeutic and good for you too. But I admit, I can’t wait to see a washing machine again and be able to just turn a knob if I need water after two years of camping in Africa.

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