The Kitwe Funnies: Underwear on Parade
Back in, Fischer, my beloved dorm there is this place called the laundry room. It is a wonderful convalescence of regalia from every size, color, and gender. Everyone washes everything there. And, you know, sometimes it happens that your Victoria Secret garments end up next to spongebob boxers. But it’s okay because that is just the reality of living in a crowded co-ed dorm. Let me tell you: THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE.
In Zambia, if you are above the age of 14, you do not wash your undergarments with the rest of your clothes. (It probably has something to do with the fact that we hang everything out to dry. And it would be kind of awkward if you were driving down the road and could see all your neighbor’s underwear on the line for anyone to see. But still. There is an over-protectiveness of undergarments like I have never experienced in my home country.) The procedure, I have learned, is that you wash your underwear whenever you bath—that’s why we keep the washing detergent in the bathroom instead of actually with the washer—and then you take them to your room to hang dry. Okay, okay. That’s all well and dandy but let me tell you that sometimes this lazy American does not feel like washing her panties every time that she baths. So, inevitably, some of my underwear end up in my hamper. But you know that’s okay cuz I do my own laundry (usually by hand) anyways.
Well, this past Saturday, Eldad, my little host brother of 6 years old, and some of his neighbor friends decided to help me do my wash. It was all well and good—and actually quite sweet—until they discovered my underwear. Instead of giggling and pointing like little girls would, they grabbed my underwear and dashed away. It was actually kind of funny seeing the little boys scampering around the front lawn holding my dripping bra and panties over their heads. UNTIL they got the brilliant idea to run to the side lawn to find the gardener yelling “Mr. Mwansa! Mr. Mwansa! Look!” It took much chasing and a good bit of slapping with a wet tshirt before I could recover my undergarments from those little hooligans. And now I can’t say hi to the gardener without thinking that he knows I wear pink cheetah print undies. Thanks a lot.