Monday, July 27, 2009


Washerwoman's Lament

My mother is a person who for the most part is anti technology. In her words automation is the enemy designed to put persons on the breadline. Don't try to get her to part company with MSN and emails though. Sometimes, I say rather that look at it as an evil we should see it as a necessary tool to speed up operations. However, she never relinquishes her point about automation making people irrelevant.

Sunday after church, my friends and I struck up a conversation about tithes and offerings. One woman who was within earshot said she was willing to do more but her income is severely reduced. We learnt she was a washerwoman who due to the prevalence of washing machines was seeing her relevance disappear. At once I understood her point and thanked my lucky stars that my mother was no where to around to crow and crow.

The washerwomen I knew were essentially poor, uneducated, low skilled but proud women who rather than wait for hand outs plied their trade. Growing up I could recall my relatives not trusting the washer with some treasured pieces of clothing for fear they would be ruined with clorox or worse a scrubbing brush. Sheets, towels, home clothes and other assorted bits were fair game. Saturdays were generally wash days but since it was not a 9 to 5 job, the enterprising washer could and did wash for several homes during the course of a week. If I am to judge by the church sister's lament there are many other frustrated ex washerwomen out there. Somehow, without my even noticing it a cross section of persons have become redundant.

washer who?
i did not know any of those still existed. even before the advent of automated washers everybody i knew did their own wash by hand
I remember our family having a washer woman when I was a child. There are still a few washer women out there, I saw one at my neighbours place a few weeks ago. I figure some have moved up to housekeepers, who use the washing machine to wash and do the added responsibilities of cleaning the house.
Stunner I am glad you knew of them too. Shame on you Jdid:)

That's a possibility too but from my observation it seems a lot of people just load the machines themeselves. Of course this is unscientific, I take your point though.
Who hijacked your blog Kami

Washer who? Like Jdid, I never heard of them, in Barbados, ein nobody washing another fella clothes unless that person lived in de same household and hardly even then. But it seemed a noble profession nonetheless. I hope persons like her find other professions coming out of the technology era
I just got a domestic helper as we call them in Jamaica who does washing, cleaning of the house and ironing. To me, the washing machine just makes it easier to get more things done in a day for the helper as they don't have to slave over a pan of water washing clothes for the entire day. So, they move away from coming 3 days a week to 2 or maybe 1 where while the clothes washing in the machine, they can clean a room or iron some clothes, enabling them to get it done in a day! Funny thing is this lady came and even though I had a washing machine and a drier no less, she still hand washed some of the clothes in the washtub!!
For what its worth the profession is still mostly alive and well in India...
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