Washing machine = Increased educated citizens


Hans Rosling TED talk is one of those short and powerful talks – washing machine as a metaphor of how time saved from not doing mundane tasks can be used to improve oneself and here – education for women.

I loved this talk. In Nigeria, we are presented with a different challenge. Even if an individual can afford a washing machine, you would need power to operate it and as simple as it sounds, electricity has not been reliable for the most part of three decades.

The only reliable source of electricity is generator, most people have one. Now we have very portable ones as cheap as US$30, maintenance and diesel are variable costs people have to add-on. The cheap type usually would light a couple of lightbulbs, mostly used in the evenings. Attempt to plug anymore household gadget is asking for wahala.

Isn’t that much more expensive, you ask? Yes, it is but this is Nigeria. We are so used to this sort of lifestyle that we probably don’t recognise what ‘normal’ is as my people would say, e go better.

I can just imagine how many women’s lives in my community and indeed Nigeria would change dramatically for better if they don’t have to spend a whole Saturday scrubbing away.

Washing machine sounds fantastic but for now, let’s hope we get stable electricity first.

Categories: Africa, Education, Nigeria, Women

Tags: , , ,

37 replies

  1. No power = no progress.
    The irony of it is , that Nigeria exports energy ie oil and gas for it’s income.
    Things really have to be revisited and be placed in the correct order. If China can do it, and Brazil can do it, and South Africa has enjoyed it since the era of apartheid, why can’t Nigeria do it?
    Ghana is now working to become a net energy exporter not just oil but hep (hydro-electric power).
    This is an indication that Nigeria has been left behind in the dark ages.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant talk. Makes me realise how much I take the washing machine as well as other gadgets for granted. We had a power cut for 2 days earlier this year and I found it quite eye opening as to the reliance and expectation that we always have power 24/7. In 1998 there was a power outage for 5 straight weeks. I wasn’t affected but I thought it was a really long time for such a “civilised” city, Auckland, New Zealand. Everyone outside the area quickly forgot of the crisis and went on as usual. We have a tendency to ignore what doesn’t affect us.
    I also thank the washing machine for giving us time to read books.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lately there has been a rapid development of supply of electricity. It might be due to the privatization of power supply which occurred recently (don’t know). Though it might sound waggish but I think our light is improving nowadays. What is left for us now is to be well educated on the matter of washing machine to save more time for other precious things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you ojojoshua for your positive contribution.

      W’ll keep hoping that it gets better.


    • I do not believe your assertion. Left Nigeria under 3 months ago, and it was hell the preceding several months, and I live at Ibadan, Nigeria’s second largest city. Neither Lagos, the heart of Nigeria’s commerce and its former capital – nor the rural areas – is much different.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What I’m trying to pass accross here is that, the power supply majorly in my area (don’t know about the rest) has improved more than before. Osun state, Ife East to be precised.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I get your point, ojojoshua.
          Nigeria improved electricity means 3 hours daily in the evenings and by the time this runs regularly for a week, we forgets months of black outs

          A note to say stable electricity in Nigeria is not the same thing as 24hrs power running – very far from it.
          Improved power means business can rely on it, not in our case.


        • And my comments concern the fact that MOST Nigerians do not experience the “improvement” at Ife East: in Lagos, I have people who do not exactly live in slums but have not had publicly-generated power for several months; ditto Ibadan where I live in Nigeria, etcetera And as for Osun, the state capital may be better than Ibadan but I also know a lot about the place as we are there often, spouse being from there BUT the power supply is not that great. All in all, “Ife East” must be an oasis.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Most Nigerians do not know that normal electricity supply means 24hrs uninterrupted supply. I remember first time I was away, I was rushing to get home so I can iron my cloth before NEPA took lights, I gave everyone around me a chuckle.

        Knowing what I know today, I have never seen normal electricity supply in Nigeria, 80s better than the 90s, NEPA name change and all that – same, same

        Having said that a friend who lived at Total Garden area of Ibadan thinks my people in Osun has better and regular power supply because the evening hours tend to be reliable.


  4. Excellent choice of lecture for your post. I’m sure you will be amused to hear that when my Wife first met me she was shocked to find that I didn’t have a washing machine – I hand washed my clothes myself! Even more devastating, there wasn’t any central heating. She insisted on the installation of both before we got married 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That being said, power should be a given, with cost being offset by the state, not dictated by one’s ability to pay. Goodluck needs to address this problem and provide what people refuse to request (why? They know not of what they are without, frankly) i do feel – regardless of the obvious – Goodluck and his party hold the keys to a better Nigeria and eventually (yes, with Chinese interference, perhaps) will move the entirety of the country into the 21st century, will it be televised? Quoting from my youth: “the revolution will not be televised” and not because the generator ran out of ‘juice’

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you mention power and Goodluck in a sentence, before he could alter a word, his many apologists would say electricity problem has been around before GEJ got to power, he can’t fix it, but can further renew Chinese contracts to supply generators for as long as they liked.

      Maybe Goodluck and his party have the key to better Nigeria – I say, why would this time be any different? They have the keys for so many years but they don’t care. It can not get any worse, I will grab that key and give it to the blind man on the road 🙂

      See, in Nigeria our problems are multi layered, I don’t even blame the ‘outsiders’ like the Chinese Co anymore because no one can fix Nigeria except Nigerians. Someone 20 years or so ago blindly thought we only needed quick fix for NEPA hence Chinese to the rescue – it is sad. The little bribe they receive from every import has blinded them of mess they cause the nation’s livelihood in its entirety – very sad.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The people must remain focused on the end results, and yes Goodluck Jonathan will one day (fingers crossed) be visited by the ghost of Christmas past and his friend, the ghost of Christmas future and realize as far as ‘rescuing Nigeria’ he is the better choice, the lesser of two evils as it were, in the eyes of the Western Powers in London and in Washington, and yes, they will fill his bank accounts in Switzerland as long as he does their bidding, but at least he can be counted on being corrupt in their interest and their interest only. Sigh, that “key” you spoke of is still there dangling, waiting for a clean Nigerian hand to grasp it, until then it’s Goodluck with the inside track

        Liked by 1 person

        • Actually for a very long time that is what we are told to do in Nigeria – focussing on end results. Hence The late Fela Kuti sang – “suffer, suffer for world, enjoy for heaven” and the phrase from the east is now on everyone’s lips – “E go better”. Both meant the same suffer now and enjoy later – never worked.

          Having said that, for what I have seen, I believe whoever makes fixing Nig education the priority from the first year is our messiah – and never the type that keep sending a few hundreds all over the world on scholarships.

          Jonathan might have the key as he is in the office, but his wrist is just too floppy to know what to do with it.

          For me, Jonathan being out will signal a little bit of end to power rotation among the few.


  6. Alright, normally i’d be expected (by you!) to say something pithy in regards to a post like this and i guess i shouldn’t disappoint you. But alas, disappoint you i shall! A washing machine is definitely an important tool/part of “modern” life, not just in Nigeria, but in southern american communities as well. (Here comes the ‘rant’) unfortunately i find people ignoring the reality of life and instead of investing in a neccessary implement – in this case a functioning washing machine – they will listen to the imbecilic and worthless pranting of commercialism that’s foisted upon them 24/7 by advertisers and minions of “cultural society” saying the new “iphone” and 60″ television is a MUST, ‘educated citizens’ is a misnomer when you realize that the school in which said ‘educated citizen’ attends is one steeped in the practiced art of duplicity. Clean drinking water, proper sanitary facilities and yes having the wherewithal to clean one’s clothes (machine or by hand) are primary requirements for ‘healthy’ living – and as your “religious leaders” preach: cleanliness is next to godliness – why are they often ignored/passed over in the pursuit of the next great “thing” where as electricity and what it means/brings to people in your village and surrounding environs is not lost on them, your government knows that parceling out access to same is POWER and keeping that in mind withholds it

    Liked by 1 person

    • You didn’t disappoint…nice try 🙂

      I can see how you easily get p*****d with commercialisation of goods to miss what the obvious point here (oops, shouldn’t pick on my v good friend). I think Rosling is talking more about the importance of education specifically women education.

      But I see your point though, you likely going to get more ‘worked up’ (oops, again) if you realise that in Nigeria most people will choose to have another mobile phones while sanitation remains at the bottom of the list.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not that female education isn’t a good thing, but to what end are “we” building minds? For what purpose are we furthering the intellectual ambitions of those “we” endeavor to assist? Are “we” not simply exercising our own ‘feel-good’ genes, at the expense of those “we” pretend (yes, pretend) to aid? It’s been said/written by helping others do we not help ourselves? But to what end, so they can get that big screen, Internet connected, iPhone? Or should we reintroduce our newly educated brethren to the towns and villages we liberated them from, the ones with the filthy water/drainage systems and faltering electrical power grids and of course the uneducated – heavily armed – masses threatening them for reasons known only to fools, charlatans and politicians! Sigh . . .l

        Liked by 1 person

        • No selfless deeds.
          However, feel-good deeds that enlighten others is fantastic. I think the kind of education Rosling was taking about is beyond the four walls of a classroom – it’s the one that when a woman realises there are lots of ways she can contribute to a society – that it is rewarding to know about the world around her. that it is liberating to visit a public library and pick a book randomly and just read. Knowledge acquired will apply in her daily life before she knows it, list is endless.

          Women, Nigerian women need this type of education. When they did, they’d teach their men it is only a goon that will spend half of a year salary on an iPhone when the same can be used on family holiday that all can benefit from, they’d stand on their husband’s neck until he unsubscribe from that MTN overpriced internet connection and both agree enough of time wasted online at the office is good enough.

          Out of classroom education will benefit us enormously.


          • Anybody ever refer to you as a “feminist” I think I told you once before, not all men (or at least I think so anyway) are “goons” or self absorbed Neanderthals, some are just creeps! That said, yes, life experiences are rewarding teachers and yes, visiting libraries (when they exist) and allowing your mind to transport itself to distance shores via pages of prose and photographs could be considered a ‘good thing’ but to wallow in the misguided belief that your life will emulate the lives within the realm of the page is dangerously wrong (trust me, of this I speak from personal experience) you need to challenge those above and around you in order to better your society, this is something you do, and you do it well. Women, yourself included, have to instruct the men in their lives how to be better people, how to respect and honour the women in their lives, while being better stewards of their own lives. Men need respect as much as women and that is often lacking and forgotten in this discussion, not all men – and young men – are misogynistic cretins, nor are they chauvinistic knuckle dragging apes with iPhones glued to their palms and gold plated teeth, smiling while shouldering their ak47’s, education – teachings from life – works for them as well, as does respect

            Liked by 1 person

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