Friday, January 16, 2009

Hey...we're in Africa!

Something we find ourselves saying more often than not. Kinda that, let's take a moment, remember where we are and then just accept that the bus isn't coming today, or that the bus came but then the driver came down with some terrible case of something that requires a bathroom and just isn't coming back to the bus even though you're out in the middle of nowhere (no lie this happened to Hilary), or that you won't be having those blueberry muffins you were craving because electricity is out...again. Ok, that last one was a stretch considering once again we are in rural Africa and should be thankful to have electricity at all. So now in response to so many inquiries that we've received from so many of you back we decided to do a little series on Swaziland living. The first will be entitled...Everything Bathroom. No, not what happens in the bathroom but more so what the bathroom entails here. First off we have what's known to most as a pit latrine. Basically an outhouse. A toilet shrouded in beautiful silver aluminium which either resembles a futuristic confessional booth or a hillbilly's rocket ship. Take your pick...however it does include a beautiful skylight above the door so you can look out at the starry night sky or get pelted by rain. While most people would have a toilet brush, trash can, maybe a magazine holder next to their toilet we have a stick, or rather a reed, which is used to beat down spiders, and other various insects lurking in the "pit" in order to provide a short barrier period where one can sit undisturbed. You get used to it though we can't say you ever get "comfortable" with it. Now lets' take a step inside the house where a small plastic tub/basin awaits. We do have a solar shower which is a poor excuse for a real shower but a luxury compared to traditional bucket bathing. However, there are times it's difficult to go through the process of filling the bag and getting everything just right so you then resort to the bucket only. Now this is a fun experience, NOT a romantic one so don't get any ideas for back at home. Anyhow, it's all really very simple, you first lean over the tub to wash your arms and hair, then you crouch your body into the tub hobbit style and proceed to pretend your an elephant dousing your body in warm soapy water. You don't have to pretend but it makes the whole experience a little more fun, and besides who doesn't want to be an elephant every now and then. And that's about it, you pry your body our of the tub, dry off and there you go, clean as a whistle, or so you thought until you put a clean shirt on and thirty minutes later look at the neck only to see that it's already brown with dirt. Awesome. Alright, well so that's your first lesson into Swazi living. Enjoy.