It is Sunday morning, and in Natitingou there is no such thing as sleeping in! On Sundays, people may come to visit as early as 7 or 8 a.m., so you need to get up earlier than that if you want to have quiet time with God. Also around 8 a.m. our little fellows arrive, each of them carrying a backpack full of dirty clothes from the past week. At least half a dozen kids from our neighborhood come to do their laundry at our place, since we have lots of buckets, easily accessible water and soap for those who don’t have any at home. Washing laundry by hand is hard work, and I have yet to meet someone who enjoys it. But it is part of daily life here. Unless their families are rich and have servants, children as young as 6 or 7 years old have to do their own laundry.
They immediately get to work filling a row of buckets at our water pump. Then they settle down in the shady place we built just for that purpose and start the process: soaping, soaking, rubbing, scrubbing, all the while chatting, laughing, teasing and helping each other. Soon the clothes are all clean and hung on the laundry line, and the kids run off to the soccer field. Teamwork makes all the difference!