When we were planning for our trip to Central America, people warned us about various things: insects, snakes, malaria, the water, no access to Netflix, etc. However, no one ever alerted us to the hazard of lint. Yes, LINT!
For some reason, houses and apartments here often come with a washing machine but no dryer. You have a nice, modern machine to launder your clothes and other fabric items, then you have to hang them out on a line to dry. Welcome to the 1960s!
To make it even worse, they sometimes TEASE you about not having a dryer (or is it to give you false hope?), by putting in a 220V outlet right next to the washer , like in our apartment:
Let me tell you what happens to towels - especially new towels -- even more especially not-so-expensive towels -- when you wash them and hang them up to dry. Here's a clue: you know all that lint that's in the dryer trap when you finish drying a load of towels? Where does that go if the towels are hung up to dry instead? It goes NOWHERE! It just stays in the towels to torment you.
Every time I use a towel to dry off, there's an abundance of lint that ends up on me. It's just there. You can either live with it or decide to spend several minutes trying to pick it all off. I say "pick" it off, because if you try to just brush it off with your hand, it just rolls up into a ball and laughs at you.
The worst is when I use a towel to dry my face. The lint sticks all over my face and neck, because my whiskers - no matter how minute - act like velcro. I've tried just "patting" my face dry, instead of wiping - doesn't help. And no matter how long I spend picking the lint off my face and neck, as soon as I see Tina, she's picking off the lint I missed.
Just leaving the lint on my face and neck is not an option, either. I'm already skinny. I don't need to walk around looking like a Q-TIP!
I don't mean to sound like it's all about me. There have to be thousands, perhaps millions of Central Americans who are also suffering with this same challenge. We see households all over town hanging out their laundry. Why don't we ever hear about this on the news? Why the silence? Let's just admit this is happening and deal with it!
Tina and I are looking into the possibility of starting a non-profit organization down here: Dryers for Central America - DCA for short. We'll have to see if we can stir up some interest from the Gates Foundation or some other group that wants to help support our cause. I've sent several emails regarding this silent-but-annoying hardship to the U.S. Consulate here in Costa Rica, but no reply. I guess someone's going to have to end up in the hospital before they'll finally pay attention.
My message to those of you reading this from your comfortable, dryer-equipped North American homes: Count your blessings!
I have to say, this situation has caused me to have some doubts about this whole "live in Central America" idea, but I've decided to stick it out a while longer and see if I can get past this.
Go hug your dryer.
Posted by Mark