I didn't really start doing laundry until I got to college, and of course I only used a washing machine, with dryer. Put in your clothes, make 2-3 quick trips back to the laundry room over the course of a couple hours, and continue on with your day, all while doing something better than actually scrubbing things.
In the Philippines, most people don't have automatic washers. I think I could have my laundry done by my host family, but I decided I'd like to give it a go by hand, so I told my host mother and started getting my things. It was a complete spectacle. No less than six children and three grown women were watching me, laughing, coaching, and incredulously confirming that I'd never washed clothes by hand. There was also a completely wasted man who expressed an interest (this was 1 pm on a Sunday) in it, but scolded the 15-year old girl who was mostly coaching me for speaking to me in English. It's been somewhat of a fishbowl existence here, but nothing has compared to this so far. I stuck with it but I don't think I did it right. My hands and arms got really irritated with the soap, and I'm pretty sure my clothes aren't clean. They also took at least 24 hours to dry. For all I know, they still aren't dry.
To most people in the world, this is the way of life. The interesting thing about the Peace Corps is that I could make it my way of life too, or I could probably easily pay somebody to do my laundry for me, even on my Volunteer salary. As much as we want to integrate into the community, the fact of the matter will always remain that I'm a plane ride and job offer away from a life of comparative luxury, and it will continue to be this way throughout my service here. It will always separate me from most people here, and it will be a continual temptation to take the easy way out. Most Volunteers seem to pay somebody for their laundry, and I'll probably end up doing the same. In a lot of ways so far, it seems like being a Volunteer here presents a different set of challenges than say, The Gambia or Mali. Of course, I'll have to see how it goes when I actually get to my site..