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What does Laundry have to do with orphan care……

Posted by Kathi on Monday, January 20, 2014 |

Happy 2014 everyone - this year the focus of my blog posts will be on Gratitude.

Here in Kenscoff , it is hard to prioritize my tasks in the morning.  We get cloud cover and rain most afternoons, so one of my first priorities, is getting clothes washed, allowing enough time for the sunshine to get them dry. I know that is an odd concept, since most of us 1st world dwellers, never think about line drying. But here, the electricity (on the rare days when we have power) is so weak, it won’t heat a dryer and our propane dryer is very expensive to operate. So, back to my morning priority – getting clothes washed and out to dry before the rain comes. Most families hike down to the spring to fill buckets of water to do their wash. Fortunately, my 1st world status, has afforded me the privilege of having water right at my faucet. What a luxury!!! , Running water in my home,   I will never take that for granted again. Every morning,   I watch countless children lugging gallons of water up the steep terrain for bathing and laundry. Once they fetch the water, then it has to be heated –which means lighting a fire for most families and boiling water. For me, again, thanks to my privilege, I have almost instant hot thanks to a hot water heater (another thing I don’t take for granted anymore).  Getting a basic task, like laundry, completed here in Haiti, is a herculean feat. So when at 8:00 am I have our laundry done and out on the stairwell to dry – I feel a genuine sense of accomplishment.


As a member of a privileged society, I take great pride in my new found “laundry” skills. My Haitian friends have taught me how to scrub garments, make my white clothes look brand new, and ring sheets and towels to reduce the drying time. I realize this all sounds silly and far from why I came to Haiti in the first place – but believe me, it sums up so much!!  Because, I take nothing for granted anymore. I realize I don’t know squat about much, because everything here is so much more difficult. But when you accomplish something simple– like clean clothes, there is complete joy.

Now imagine this task multiplied by 48!!!! This is the thankless job of 3 women who are responsible for the laundry for our 48 children. Towels, clothes, sheets, blankets, shoes – it is a 30 hour a day job and these three women work tirelessly for the sake of our children. Imagine spending 10 hours a day hunkered over a laundry tub doing wash.  And never complaining.  Singing songs of praise while your hands shrivel up. I complain about hand washing clothes for Espie and I – imagine my embarrassment as I watch as these women wash laundry hour after hour, day after day. They don’t moan or groan, instead, they greet me with a smile and joyful voices.

It’s these kinds of experiences that teach me so much about life and my privileged status as an American. By stepping out of my comfort zone and living a life radically devoted to serving –perspectives change, the American dream looses its luster and complaints are replaced with gratitude.  As I start this New Year, I have 3 simple resolutions;  to love more deeply, to laugh more frequently and to be grateful continuously.  I am grateful for every single opportunity (good and bad) that comes my way. I am grateful for an amazing group of friends, donors and colleagues who support our efforts in Haiti. I am grateful to a family and husband at home who love and encourage me. And above all, I am grateful to God for opening the doors that allow me to experience and share His amazing love with children in Kenscoff, Haiti.

“we always have bright, clean clothes”

My wishes and prayers to you and your  families for a healthy and happy 2014.

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