How to Clean a Sofa

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I should not make generalizations but after living in the Zulu Kingdom for a year this one is safe to make: amaZulu love cleanliness. Every household I have been to is neat and tidy, regardless of the family’s financial state. When I asked my host sister why this was she said that the amaZulu view cleanliness close to godliness.

This spring I have learned how to clean things that I did not view as…well washable. Last week the host family initiated spring cleaning where they are up at 5 AM pulling furniture out and maintaining the rooms ( they are currently 4 down, one more to go tomorrow). Everything from touching up on our interior buttery yellow walls to scrubbing shelves has been accomplished. They wait a day when the water is on (I’ll explain the amanzi situation in the near future) and scrub all the blankets and bedspreads.

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The host family has a lovely brown leather-like sofa set (two arm chairs and a sofa) which became dirty from use. There is no vacuum cleaner in my household and I wondered how they dealt with leather.

I got my answer.

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They dump soapy water (with regular laundry detergent) on to the sofa.

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Then they rub the soap into the fabric and continue to dump water until the soap is out/chair appears clean.

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Finally, they leave them to benefit from solar energy.

No fabric or furniture was damaged in my family’s spring cleaning activities.

 

 

 

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My proudest moment as a PCV so far…that was not mine

One of the icebreakers at All-Vol was sharing a highlight of our service. I was still in the middle of my site mess and could not name an moment on the spot. I would like to redeem myself now.

During my elongated stay in Pretoria, there was a camp for recently bereaved children (lost a parent since 2013) and child headed households. Given my situation at site, it was really good that I was not at the actually camp because something even better happened. I helped a part of the initial last minute logistics, but our substitute data staff stepped up and took my place. I mentioned in a joking manner that she should do so right before I left. The fact that she did makes me so happy.

When I see photos of her playing netball with the kids, it gives me hope in this organization and South Africa. I see why I became a PCV, to create opportunities for host country nationals to step up and help their communities. If I was at the camp, those children would have taught me a lot about resilience (which is more than bouncing back…but that is another post). However it is not just about me but also the children. Bottom line is that I can learn all the isiZulu I want, but I leave in two years and I will never be amaZulu. Having children find someone from their own culture to support them is more sustainable.

The same woman is going to be my counterpart/community partner for our upcoming training. We just hired another girl my age (ALLELUIA) for data entry and the counterpart just got a job in the lower valley at a school. I am excited for the opportunity to collaborate. If nothing else comes out of this, I have a path forward on how to do projects in the community.