An African Adventure – Part 3

How to Take a Bath

Our first house in Zambia was modest by North American standards.  There were five rooms, living room, two bedrooms, a tiny kitchen containing a stove, fridge, and a table with two shelves above it.  No cupboards, no counter space.  There was also a very small bathroom, with sink, toilet, and bathtub.  But there was no hot water in the house.

So to have a bath, Husband had to go outside and fire up the old wood stove which had a small water tank above it, which would then heat up the water which would trickle into the tub to a depth of  about three inches.  This was also the way the laundry was done.  I had to get on my knees and wash and rinse the laundry, and then take it to hang on the clothesline.

When the laundry was dry, sometimes in about half an hour, it all had to be ironed, on both sides.  You see there was this little pest called a putzi fly, invisible to the human eye, which would get into wet clothing and then lay its eggs under your skin.  You can imagine the rest.  A visit to the doctor would be required, to have the eggs removed.  Sheets, pillow cases, towels, bras, underwear, dresses, shirts, skirts, blouses.  All had to be ironed on both sides to kill the putzi fly.  Bras and underwear seemed to cause the most problems.

When our baby, Michelle, was born a year later, all of her diapers had to be done in the tub, hung out to dry, and ironed on both sides!!!  But more about the baby later!

Now to the creatures who lived in our house and obviously were a little put-out at our moving in!

The house was furnished with a few pieces – dresser, beds (single), table, chairs, small love seat and a couple of lamps.  It was exciting until, on moving day, I opened the dresser to clean it, and a zillion bugs scurried out.  I almost fainted.  I was deathly afraid of all bugs, worms, snakes, lizards, and of course, all of the wild animals.  I don’t know what I thought Africa was going to be like but I obviously didn’t think it through.  I mean – Africa?  C’mon!

That day I slew more spiders, cockroaches, and other sundry bugs than anyone should have to in their lifetime.  The spiders alone were as big as saucers and I didn’t want to be anywhere near them!  Later that evening,  we were getting ready to go to bed (or beds) and there on the wall were three HUGE spiders.  We just lay there and I know for a fact that neither of us slept one second that whole night.

Just as a side note.  The single beds were pushed together by John.  His words?  Never let it be said that I procrastinated on a household job when it was really important!

Thanks for reading and I hope I haven’t scared you from visiting the beautiful country of Zambia. Have a great day! – Maureen

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9 responses

    • Apparently it was done very quickly. A fellow-teacher’s son fell victim to the putzi fly and told me about it. I had read ALL the lterature about posinous snakes, insects, etc., so I was forewarned. – Maureen

  1. You’re a braver person than I, Maureen! Ugh. Give me cold climates any day! An incredibly interesting story, tho.

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