Thursday, March 10, 2011


While hanging with the Bhutanese there have been comments re: bathrooms, etc. Mostly regarding them having to figure out how to use our fancy ones with different faucets and adjusting hot and cold. Also with different toilets and flushing handles.

It reminds me of a very funny challenge I had back
in February of '96, shortly before Dave and I returned to the States at the end of our missionary life in Uganda. I went on a trip with a short-term building team that had come from California. During our Ugandan life, Dave and I had always been working and helping and rarely had time for a side-trip or holiday. Dave wasn't able to go on this trip, but I was overjoyed to go. We rode in the back of a good-sized truck. There were about eight of us, plus the driver, Paul, the construction manager at the orphanage, who now lives in North Dakota. We went to Murchison Falls National Park. On the way, the truck bounced around on the rough roads, trying to avoid potholes, and wearing out our bodies as we tried to keep from crashing around on the truck bed.

We reached the park and nearly immediately took a boat ride on the Nile... lots of photos I'll post and share some day -- hippos, crocs, birds, wild ox, elephant, and other animals. However, that's not what I'm writing about this time.

Shortly after our arrival at the campgrounds, I needed to use a latrine. I'm usually pretty careful about its environment, but didn't have a lot of choice this time. I ended up in one that was surrounded by some bamboo walls and had a dirty dirt floor. I was able to push the door closed, which was a good deal, not always a satisfactory option. And there were just a few strips of wood to brace it up in several places.

WELL, I squatted and hurried -- not exactly a relaxing moment, EVER ... and then needed to reach out to brace myself to stand up. That is when I realized I was eyeball to eyeball with a large spider that blended quite well with the wood it was on. My brain began to rush around. How could I stand up? What could I safely touch? Would this spider jump into my hair? Should I move quickly or slowly? WELL... I was able to quietly and quickly stand by bracing my arms rather lightly on the side walls. [15 years later, older with weaker knees and much less ability to easily stand up, in a similar situation, I would be in real trouble!]

No, I'm not a spiders fan, but not as scared of them as other creatures. -- this one was large, but it wasn't a furry-looking venomous tarantula that spit into eyes [which Dave had to deal with once and, thank heavens, I wasn't needed at the time], so I was intense, but not terrified. A friend of mine told me that when she was in a latrine in Kenya she looked up and a cobra was in the thatch roof over her head. IF that had been me, and not Kathryn, you wouldn't know me... my snake-terror would have put me in the heart-attack realm.

Anyhow, when I'm not overly comfortable in certain bathrooms at airports, malls, rest areas, bus stations, or homes, I only have to remember some of my events --- had several uncomfortable-to-say-the-least latrine experiences in Uganda -- and that helps me keep a reasonable perspective.

Since I was chuckling about this earlier today, I thought I'd share it with you and see if you'd chuckle, too. [Hope I haven't managed to offend anyone, but, oh, well....]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love this story! I'll have to tell you some time about my bathroom experiences in Pakistan. And then I'll have to share about the wonderful Airport Hotel in Karachi, Pakistan... it makes ANYTHING look clean in comparison! :)