Dust Up

20130106ObamaClothHarmattan is upon us and so one of my New Year’s Resolution’s is to dedicate about 2 hours a day, six days a week to keeping the dust down. Harmattan is what happens when the prevailing winds shift to come out of the north east, blowing Saharan dirt down to Ghana. Our world is at least five times dirtier than before the wind shifted and we can expect increased dust until mid-March.

I’ve started mopping the floors three times a week. We live in a two-story 2,000 square foot house with terrazzo floors. I’ve found I can mop both upstairs and down in two hours. I realized that if I mopped more often I wouldn’t have to sweep first which takes time and just sends more dust into the air. I have also tackled the windows. All 442 panes of louvered glass. These I’ve divided into three groups which I am wiping down once a week on three separate days.

We are working on solutions to other issues. Dust is finding its way into the cupboards and onto plates, bowls and drinking glasses. Not sure what to do about this. A couple of days ago I realized that our hanging clothes were at risk so I decided to drape a piece of fabric over the clothes. I was in Obuasi with friend Elodie when I spotted the Obama cloth and on impulse bought it.

So, you might ask, why don’t I just hire someone? It has also occurred to me that this would be the easiest solution. Our friend Andreas keeps a spotless home with the help of a very fine man from the North. His man is able to clean the entire home, nearly as large as ours, in three hours and comes in several times a week. Labor is inexpensive here and we can afford it.

But for the time being, I’ve decided to tackle the problem myself. I value my privacy to the point that I would rather not bring someone in to help. And since I’m not working, I’ve got the time to devote to extra cleaning for the next few months. As a trade off, I’m simplifying our menus to spend less time in the kitchen.

I am happy to report that my strategy is working so far and that our home is comfortable and clean without undue effort. And I’m pleased to have put one of our American politicians to good use.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.