We are on our 7th straight day of rain in Managua… or is it 8th or 9th… I’ve lost track… Nearly 24 hours a day of straight rain for the last week. There’s a hurricane hitting Mexico that we’re getting a lot of rain from. October is the rainiest month normally, but they tell me it’s usually overnight or for 2 hours here or 2 hours there. Not for days on end.
If you sweat or get wet, you can pretty much plan on being soaked indefinitely. Another real concern is mold as the houses are not able to dry out sufficiently. This is particularly a problem with my clothing, as we have a mold problem in the house and it likes to settle into my clothes.
Combined with not having our washing machine or a dryer, the process of maintaining my clothes has become a real chore. It is nearly impossible to dry clothing in these conditions and eventually, to remain socially appropriate, you DO need them.
With seven people in the house, laundry becomes a serious part of life and a difficult one to maintain. We can’t just keep our laundry for the weekend and do a few loads. Here, laundry is a daily part of life, as I’m sure many of you there with large families have experienced.
I have actually heard it said that washing machines changed the future of women. Here, as it was in previous years in the U.S., having someone in the house daily for these chores is essential. I won’t enter into the discussion on roles. But, I will just say that here, the responsibilities in the home generally, but not always, fall to the women. It is very uncommon for men to be willing to do these kinds of tasks here, so the women get a kick out of my ability to cook, bake, wash clothes and clean house.
As I have had to participate in these roles here, I can certainly appreciate the amount of work that goes into things we usually take for granted. In some ways, I will have more responsibilities than most. Usually, most people here are either married, or living with family. It is extremely uncommon for someone to live alone.
Generally, a person is cared for by family or by a spouse. Since I have neither, I more or less have to fend for myself in some of these areas. While we tend to cook collectively, things like laundry fall on me personally. By hand, this process generally takes me 1-2 hours a day as I’m not very efficient at it. The added time, energy and stress of this is wearing on me greatly and keeping me from my studies and work.
For this reason, I have decided to buy and install a clothes dryer for the family to use. With so many people in the house and constant guests as well, this will be a huge help. Unfortunately, it’s going to cost about $120 but I feel that it’s a worthwhile investment to protect my time and clothes from mold and mildew.
On the more positive side of things, the rain is cool and relaxing. It’s been in the mid to upper 70’s, a nice break from the upper 80’s, but still very humid. I’ve been tracking the humidity through a little unit I brought with me. Most days it reads 85% humidity and 85 degrees in my room.
This is the lowest I’ve seen it:
Last night, it read 92% and was climbing. This morning it read “H” meaning, “I quit. The humidity is just ridiculous.”
Well, I think I’ll leave the rest for another post. Hope you’re all doing well.