Friday, December 30, 2011

The Pila

Here in Honduras most people do not have a washing machine, in fact they don’t have anything like it!  On every back porch there is something called a Pila. It is a big cement tank with a waist high table on one end, and a wash board cemented in. It is very simple and I’m sure it’s a great improvement on a tub and wash board, but it is still far from what I would call a good invention!  

Now let me explain the process of simply washing a pair of jeans. First you take a bowl and dip water out of the tank and get them soaked, then you lay them out and take a bar of soap and get one side soapy, than you take a brush and scrub that side until it is clean, than you turn them over and soap the other side and scrub it, now you turn them inside out and do the process all over again. Once they are all soapy and clean, you take the little bowl and pour water over them until there is no more soap suds. At this point you are very tired and you still have to ring them out! Ringing out a pair of jeans can be a challenge in itself; they are very bulky and really test your strength.

Now that you have all that behind you, you hang them up on the line and hope the sun comes out. Now this can be quite a gamble because this is the cloudy, rainy season and not always sunny. Assuming the sun is out, your clothes will be dry in a few hours, but this is not always the case. If the Lord really sees the need to test your patience, the sun will not come out, and your clothes will sour on the line, or the wind will blow them off the line and strew them all over the muddy yard! Trust me; this is almost enough to bring you to tears. Unfortunately, there is nothing to do but pick them up and start over again.

Needless to say, when Mom said she wants me to build a Pila at home, I was not very excited. I think there are far better ways to wash clothes without electricity.

Now, some members of my family seem to really enjoy it and say that it is so peaceful and calming, but I’m sure if you had a chance to try it you would side with me and my opinion. The first time I used it I instantly understood why the young men here get married so young… it’s so they don’t have to do their own laundry!

Oh well, it’s a character building experience that really makes me appreciate a washing machine.


More Pila pitures


  1. really got me smiling this time! :) (and by the way...I'm really glad we have washing machines too!) Missing you all lots! Abby

  2. Wow, Wow, and Wow, Jonathan!!! It is amazing how much we americans take for granted! It makes you think how much hard labor we are "sheltered" from! I was lol and thinking of INFCM... now you all will be ready to take all the boys in arm-wrestling! :)I think of you all often! ;)