01 02 03 Africa Expat Wives Club: I want a dishwasher (machine!) 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

I want a dishwasher (machine!)


I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about buying an automatic dish washer. They are available in our big local supermarket chain now, and they even sell the soap tablets now to go inside. Far too many man hours have been spent in this household leaning over the sink and washing up (OK, admittedly they have not been necessarily my man hours, rather an employee’s, though I do dabble in washing dishes at the weekends), but now I’d really like us to join the 21st century. Some argue that washing dishes in luke warm water is the cause of many tummy upsets too, as we don’t benefit from the high sterilizing temperatures of a machine.

When I was pricing the dishwashing machines today my seven year old daughter said;

‘What is that Mummy?’

I replied;

‘It’s a dishwasher, for washing up plates and cups; you know - like the one at Granny and Grandpa’s house and at Granny and Grandad’s, in fact there’s one in nearly every kitchen’s we’ve been to in England.’

‘Oh!’ she said; ‘I thought it was just a kind of cupboard thing that was popular in England for putting plates and things inside.’

I rest my case.

It was the same thing in Tanzania. We arrived and the entire grass cutting was done by ‘panga’ or scythe. How the gardener didn’t lose his toes in the process I will never understand, but he was skilled and practised at the art of cutting grass with a knife, swishing it back and forth in a wide arc for two or three days until the job was done. The situation remained the same for a couple of years but when we procured a clapped out second hand motor mower, we transformed Morris the gardener’s working life. The grass cutting was done in a morning.

Each time we get a large electricity bill my husband tries to convince me of the merits of using a ‘kuni booster’ system of heating our water instead of using electric. This comprises a primitive metal tank device with a chimney that you light a wood fire beneath until the water is hot. I retort that if I have to shout out of the bathroom window to ask someone to light a fire every time I want a shower or bath then we may as well be living in the dark ages!

Some friends don’t even possess a clothes washing machine, so all the laundry must be done by hand too. I say ‘release us from our chains of laborious drudgery and invest in the machine, it’s 2007 don’t you know! (nearly 2008)’ The only problem is that the dishwasher that I like is 57,000 Kenya shillings (£430), new lawnmowers are 50-60,000/- or more (£375-£450+) and clothes washing machines never less than 20,000 (£150), so we can’t afford a dishwasher this month – but perhaps one day we will catch up with the 21st century.

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