For five years, I didn’t have a tumble dryer.

My washing machine was in my kitchen, as most washing machines are, in the more developed parts of South Africa, right under the counter next to the sink.  If I’d ever decided that I wanted a dishwasher, the washing machine would’ve gotten kicked outta the house, since there wasn’t space for both.

And since I’d rather wash dishes by hand than clothes any day, I kept the washing machine, but I didn’t have a tumble dryer.

And sure, hanging clothes on the line in the fresh breeze under African sun can be cathartic, until you have a newborn strapped to your chest and a two-year-old holding your pant leg while you walk down the corridor, down a flight of stairs and across a parking lot to the clothesline, all while pulling a load or three of clothes behind you in a wagon thingy that your mother-in-law bought you for this exact purpose, bless her heart.

As you can imagine, that routine grew old, especially in the Cape Town winter when the rain was an almost daily companion, and the temperatures would drop way down to downright cold, like “I-can-see-my-breath-inside” cold, and the jeans just would. not. dry.  And I got tired of running outside while dinner was on the stove because the raindrops started falling, and “Nooo! my clothes just got dry!”

So my sympathetic husband saw my distress and bought a secondhand tumble dryer in hopes that at least one of us would have clean clothes to wear.  Even if it was only the baby.

And the tumble dryer that cost about forty dollars in U.S. currency took four hours to dry a single load and it chowed all of our prepaid electricity that we bought across the street at the Checkers and added manually to our digital meter.  But it was okay, because the dryer was smack in the middle of the living room, right next to the dining table, and its constant cycles at least kept the house warm in winter, because there’s no such thing as central heating or furnaces or thermostats in South Africa.

But even though I didn’t have a tumble dryer for five years and never had central heat, we always had water.

Inside the house.

When we would go to visit my husband’s relatives up country, it was a different story.

There, they have a single tap that provides all the water they use on their property.  And it’s outside.




Boiling water to cook pap, washing your hands after you use the outhouse, brushing your teeth.  It all comes from that single tap attached to the exterior wall.  Washing dishes looks like this:




But it’s at their house.

There are tons of other people living in South Africa who don’t have water points at their homes.

At all.

Like people in Maubane, South Africa.

For them, doing laundry used to look like this:




That is, until the Lord did something BIG through Lisa-Jo Baker and a whole horde of others in this amazing blog community.





And He’s not done yet.

All we need is 461 people to give $25 each, and THIS can be completed to serve 461 orphans and caregivers in South Africa:



To read more about this Community Kitchen and Welcome Center, click here.

So are you in?

I have friends in South Africa who created something called the Egg on Toast Fund.  They are a group of friends who used to go out once a week for dinner together.  Then one of them had a brilliant plan which would enable them to give more without spending more.  They decided, once a month, instead of going out to a restaurant, to go to someone’s house to have egg on toast.  They still got the fellowship, and the money they would have spent at a restaurant was used to support missionaries around the world.

So here’s the question:

How can you give more without spending more?

Would you forfeit the drive through McDonald’s and have macaroni at home instead?  Would you pass on the Starbucks for a day and tape your eyelids open for lack of caffeine?

Because Big Macs and lattes will disappear before the setting sun, but this building?  It’s gonna last a lot longer than a burger.

You and me and Lisa-Jo and 458 others with our kitchens and our washing machines and our tumble dryers and our dishwashers all in our heated homes ..

Let’s do this.


Click here to donate.





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6 thoughts on “fall in love with the world next door

  1. Things like this project we are part of make me glad to live on this planet again. So much of what I see online and in real life make me sad for the future generations, but this? To quote the great and wonderful Samwise Gamgee, “There’s some good left in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

  2. Beautiful initiative! And I am inspired by the way to capture every day life in your blog posts. I too am living abroad. Currently in Kathmandu, Nepal. My husband and I (Americans) have been married for four years, all overseas, never with a tumble dryer, but now with a sweet and crazy one yr old girl. I love reading posts and stories from women like you and Lisa Jo. You make the unusualness of our lives relatable. Thanks for that. Hope to join the five minute fridays someday….

  3. I love this just as much as I loved Lisa-Jo’s post this morning!

    I’ll never forget my time handwashing and line drying clothes in South Africa. Nor hauling water from the yard tap to do so. Sitting surrounded by buckets on the floor, soaking myself and my clothes at the same time (ok, I’m not that good at handwashing, fyi).

    But I learned to be thankful. That I had a tap in the yard. That sometimes my host family would have me use their electric washing machine. That I could heat the water up in my electric kettle during the winter cold. And that eventually, I’d return to the land of washing machines and driers. 😉 Now? I LOVE doing laundry, because it is SO easy in the US! I can’t wait to see this community center built!

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