So Smooth!

Is there anything better than a Saturday when you have nothing planned? For me it’s a wonderful day to slowly enjoy my coffee and then do those things I’ve been putting off all week: washing dishes, hanging clothes, and shaving my legs. Although I think many believe otherwise, Missionaries DO in fact shave their legs (at least on occasion). This past Saturday I was enjoying one of those days. I had finished my coffee, washed up the dishes I had stacked and re-stacked all week (sidebar: sometimes I think stacking dirty dishes should be an extreme sport: how many times can you rinse them and stack them so that they don’t look so intimidating without actually washing them? I really think I am a champion at this!), and hung up most of my clothes. I put some water on to boil and went in search of my shaving cream. Because I don’t have an actual shower or bathtub, my washroom isn’t an ideal place to shave my legs. So after pumping my water from the borehole and adding my freshly boiled water, I set up shop in a sunny spot on my front lawn. The lighting was wonderful and I was happy to finally be in shorts and have my legs exposed to some sun! I plopped down in my plastic lawn chair, wetted my legs, and lathered using the last bits of the shaving cream I had brought from the US.
About halfway through the first leg, I looked up and realized that my neighbor had stopped scrubbing her laundry and was watching me quizzically. I smiled at her and waved, knowing that she knows very little English, and got back to the task at hand. Just as I was finishing the first leg, the other neighbor girl emerged from the room. From the corner of my eye I watched them speaking to each other, both stealing glances my way. In a few short minutes, the shorter and better English speaker of the two was standing in front of me looking both curious and courageous. “What is this?” she asked, looking down at my leg, razor, and basin.
I laughed, not really knowing how to start to explain what I was doing. “I’m shaving my legs,” I told her. From the look on her face I could tell that my words did nothing to quench her curiosity. I went on to explain that I had hair on my legs and wanted to get rid of it. She looked closely at mine and then looked down at her own legs, seemingly trying to work out why I wanted it to be gone. She timidly reached out and felt first the leg that I had finished, then the leg that I had not, and, finally, her own leg. She turned her head slightly and shouted in her native tongue for her friend to come over. The tall girl joined her in front of my little make-shift workshop and she gave her own explanation of what I was doing. She grabbed the taller girls hand and made her feel both of my legs. The tall girl giggled. When they were finished feeling they looked at me expectantly, urging me to continue with their eyes. I laughed and wetted and then lathered up my second leg.
As I took the first stroke up my leg, they stared in amazement. The smaller girl grabbed my hand with the razor and looked closely at the blade. “Ohhhh,” she said as she examined it. She released my hand to allow me to rinse and continue on. After two more strokes, she reached down and ran her hand up my leg. “Very smart!” she exclaimed. The taller girl also felt my leg, giggled, and gave me a thumbs up. They watched for only a few seconds longer before growing bored with the whole ordeal and heading back to finish their laundry. I also laughed to myself as I finished the last of my Saturday chores: Just another episode in the life of a strange foreigner.

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