March 17, 2010

How to Explain a Dryer?

The other night we invited a young Mozambican couple over for dinner. Emma, the wife, is actually from Swaziland (South Africa) but has lived here for 10 years now and her husband Joaquim is Mozambican.  Emma works for the local gas distribution company as a secretary and Joaquim has his own business preparing legal documents and assisting in legal processes for people. After our dinner of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans we sat around at the table talking. They were curious about different types of technology etc in America. The discussion turned to laundry and we explained that in America most people do not hang their clothes out to dry but instead use a dryer. We quickly discovered it is difficult to describe what a dryer is and what it does to someone who has never seen or heard of one before in their lives. Now, they are not typical Mozambicans in that they own a washing machine. It is a two sided machine that washes in one side and thing spins in the other side. The closest we could get to an understanding of the dryer because we do not own one and could not show them was that it is like a really good spinner that uses heat and when it's done your clothes are finished and all you have to do it fold them.
Funny, how complicated some things become when they are not the "normal."

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