We're Jason, Beth, Lee Anna, Sawyer, and Sarah Claire, a family of five living, learning, and laughing lots in Northern Africa.
We hope you can learn a little (and maybe laugh a little too) as you read about our latest adventures.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fighting Makwagees

No, it’s not the name of a new alternative rock band. Makwagee is the Arabic word for ironer, and we’ve had a small dispute lately that I thought you might find amusing.

For the past several months, we’ve had a guy come by the house every morning to see if we had any clothes that needed ironing. He would carry them to his shop and bring them back that evening, for about 20 cents (American) per shirt. When we got back from America, I called the shop and he said he’d send the guy right out. Well he didn’t show up, so I called back the next day. “Oh, I’m sorry, the makwagee was off yesterday, I’ll send him right out now.” But again he didn’t show up. By this time we had two weeks’ worth of clothes clean and ready to be ironed. We were starting to think we might have to actually try to locate our iron and see if it still works.

Since he never showed up, I walked to another cleaners/ironer’s shop at the end of our block. I gave them two shirts and two pair of pants, just to see that they’d do good work and bring them in a decent amount of time. When I got to this little shop, I saw a boy in there who I knew—he’s the son of the doorman in the building across the street from us. He appeared to be working there, and when he brought our clothes back later that night, I gave him a big sack of clothes that needed ironing.

Then it got fun. Our doorman came to the door and asked something about why I was letting the other guy do his job. He said he could take our clothes to be ironed. I told him I thought that’d be fine next time, I just didn’t know it was so important to him. The next night, two other guys came to deliver all the clothes I had sent the previous night with the young boy. As soon as they left, our doorman came and said that guy was no good, and I should be letting him (the doorman) take our clothes to a different shop.

Well, the next night, the two guys came back to see if we needed anything ironed, but our doorman followed them to the door and asked me if I wanted them to be there or not. I’m not sure what the problem was, but I told the new ironer boys that I was going to have to side with our doorman, since he lives at our building. I think it’s all clear now, but I still don’t know why my doorman doesn’t want me doing business with the guys on the end of our street.

Well, I thought it was all clear. Then tonight about 10:00, I went out to buy some groceries, and the young boy from across the street was out delivering clothes, several buildings down. He stopped me and told me that if I wanted him to, he could come get my clothes while our doorman was downstairs eating so he wouldn’t know about it! I told him no, thanks. This kid is about 10 years old and angling for my money like an old pro.

Any of you have people fighting for the privilege of ironing your clothes??

Funny, related side-story:
Our iron in America had a little button on it so we could spray water on the clothes as we were ironing. I’ve heard, though I haven’t witnessed this first-hand yet, that some of the guys here just keep a cup of water on the ironing board, to sprinkle water on the clothes. But, instead of sprinkling with their hand, they spray the water with their mouths!!


  1. oh man, send some my way! I HATE ironing!

  2. Haha no we do not have problems with our ironing but we do with other stuff!!!!

  3. How much would it cost me to send my stuff over there to be ironed? :)