Thursday, January 17, 2013

What's Down Your Latrine?

            For the past week since I have been home, I have slowly started rid my house of all of my crap.  I have taken two bags of trash to Mbale filled with miscellaneous papers and certificates.  I chose to take them to Mbale rather than dump them in the trash pit because I didn’t want my neighbors sifting through all of those papers.  I also figured they would take my certificates out of the trash, and tell me I must I have thrown them away by mistake (certificates are a big deal!).  I have also given away toys, coloring books, clothes and DVDs.  Everyday I see Sauya, Eva and Isaac all wearing an old article of clothing of mine.  The clothes I have been giving away are clothes that I never wear here, but I have no intention of bringing back to the US, so they are relatively new.  Upon telling my mom about my purging of things, she texted me, “Be sure to save some underwear and skirts, you still have 3 months left.” 
            Let me start off by reassuring you all that I have not given anyone any pairs of my old underwear.  That would just be too much.  However, it got me thinking – what am I going to do with my old underwear?  If I threw them away in the trash pit, then a student would most likely take them out of the trash to have as their own.  Who knows, maybe each student would take a pair of underwear considering I have over 100 pairs (not exaggerating).  I don’t think 13 year olds need my old Victoria’s Secret underwear with “Love Pink” on the butt or my lacy Hanky Panky thongs.  Option two would be take the underwear to Mbale to throw out, but then again, someone still might take that out of the trash and wear it.  Even though that person would be a complete stranger, the idea still creeps me out - especially if I saw someone selling the old underwear (doubtful, but could happen!).  So really, the only thing I can think of is burning it or dumping it down my latrine.  Burning it seems like a lot of work, so I may go with the latter.  The latrine is home to many items that I have dumped so as to avoid the judgments of my neighbors: 

  1. Wine bottle – When I first moved to site, I was unsure about what to do with an empty bottle of wine.  I didn’t want my neighbors to know I drank, and I didn’t want my students to see it either.  The latrine seemed like the best place at the time.  Since then, I have only had two more bottles of wine, which I have used as candleholders.  Stephen has already staked his claim on those for when I leave, so they won’t be heading down the latrine.   
  2. Whale Kiddy Pool – I still bathe in a whale shaped kiddy pool, but my first one got a gigantic hole and then fell apart.  The idea of the guards burning the rubber shreds with other trash made me want to gag.  The smell would be awful and that cannot be good for the environment.  I put the remnants in a bag to take to Mbale to throw out, but eventually, the remnants just went down the latrine. 
  3. Food – My neighbors are very generous with their food, but sometimes, I just cannot eat it.  Obviously I cannot dump their white ants or papaya that tastes like feet in the trash because then they would know.  I also cannot dump it out my back door with all my other leftover food, or again, they would see it.  So, down the latrine it goes. 
  4. Receipts – While I could just rip up my bills from the Sheraton hotel, I choose to just dump them in my latrine.  (It’s like toilet paper, right?).  I do not want my neighbors or students to know how much money I spend when I take a little vacation. 
  5. Kid’s Drawings – Okay, I’ll admit it.  I have not kept all of the thousands and thousands of drawings that the kids have given me when we color.  I have run out of toilet paper a few times, and I may have found an alternative.  Let’s just say I’m really good at recycling. 

            I am sure there are many other treasures down my latrine that I have forgotten about, but those are the few that I remember.  I have recently found out that latrines are sucked out with a hose in order to empty them.  Putting my underwear down the latrine may hinder this process, so I may have to resort to burning my underwear after all.  I am probably going to burn all of my photos and cards that are on my wall as well.  My neighbors keep telling me that they want all of my pictures when I leave, but the thought of them having over 100 photos of me with my friends and family seems a little strange.  It all depends whether or not I am motivated enough to take the time to burn my photos. 
            As I mentioned, I have given away DVDs to my neighbors.  Over the past two years, I have accumulated about 100 DVDs (maybe even more).  I have take a lot from the VRC (Volunteer Resource Center) and taken advantage of the cheap bootlegs sold everywhere.  I gave the majority of DVDs to Sauya, who took no time at all to write her name on all of them.  Sauya is currently hooked on the show “Criminal Minds” – every time I go over to her house for lunch, Sauya, Isaac and Eva are glued to the TV.  One night they stayed up until 1am to watch.
            While I was over at their house for lunch, Sauya kept saying, “Ah that Detective Morgan is such a nice man.”  She then proceeded to retell a whole episode and explain why he is so nice.  (She actually gives me a play by play of a lot of episodes, even though I have told her I’ve seen them all). 
            After her spiel of why Detective Morgan is so nice, I said, “He is nice, but I think he is really nice looking.” 
            “You like that African American man?”
            “Oh yeah!  He is hot!”
            “Ehhhhhhhh! You will marry him!”
            “Oh yeah, totally.”
            “Yes, yes.  Eva will be maid of honor and Emma will be the ring bearer.”
            “Mmm.  I think Robyn would be my maid of honor.”
            “No! You will have two maids of honors.  One African and one white – both your sisters.” 
            I laughed and said, “Okay.”
            “Ah! Then we have introduction ceremony and we make all local food.  Chicken, matoke, rice, meat, greens and millet bread.” 
            I laughed, again, and said, “I don’t think I’m actually going to marry him.”
            “No, no!  You will! Just pray.”
            “I think he is a little too old for me anyway.”
            “Ah! It is okay!”

            Sometimes I wonder if my sarcasm translates or maybe Sauya was just really going along with the joke.  To be honest, I really think she believes I am going to marry Shemar Moore. 
            Apparently the Were Family is really invested in my future of marriage.  Yesterday, Isaac was playing with Emma and he asked, “Aubrey, when are you going to have one of these?”
            “One of these as in a kid?”
            “Uh, never.”
            “What? Never! Then you don’t want to get married?”
            “No, I will get married one day if I meet the right guy.  But trust me, that is not going to be any time soon.” 
            “No man will marry you if you refuse to produce.”
            I laughed and said, “Okay, well maybe I will have kids.  I just don’t want them anytime in the near future.  Maybe in like 15-20 years.”
            “That’s too long!  You will be too old.”  He thought for a minute and then continued, “Maybe you should just become a nun.” 

            I could not stop laughing.  So there you have it, Sauya thinks I should marry Shemar Moore and Isaac thinks I should become a nun.  Not sure which is the more unlikely of the two. 
            Next week is COS Conference, and I will finally get my leave date.  (We are also staying at a nice hotel with a pool, thanks Peace Corps!)  Getting your leave date is done by a lottery system since 3-4 people leave a week starting March 22.  My group has already begun to discuss the process via a mass email chain.  After a 26-email email chain, I can guarantee this process will not be civil next week.  Claws are out and tears very well may be shed.  Caroline took advantage of the group craziness by pretending to be in charge of the “list” of leave dates.  She sent out a spreadsheet of when people were leaving in order to mess with everyone.  Most people realized she was joking, but there were a few that did not.  While most found the joke funny, there were a few that were not amused.  Goes to show that some have lost their sense of humor and people are just itchin’ to get home.  Nevertheless, here is to hoping I get a good lotto pick and there is no bloodshed next week.  

Camp Glow: Me, Deborah (co-counselor) and Teddy

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