How to poop in a hole

This was one thing that I was legitimately worried about before arriving. I had only squatted once in my entire life, and that was an emergency so things just kind of happened on their own. Now that it was going to be intentional, I wasn’t so sure how it was going to work out. I still remember one of the trainers on our last day of orientation at the hotel saying, “Oh yeah – one more thing – you get down like this,” and proceed to flat foot squat on the floor. He must have been missing a tendon or two because my legs didn’t bend that way and I was positive that position would send me straight down the hole.

The first morning in my host family’s house was all trial and error. I went to the outhouse seven times in two hours, but ironically nothing was coming out. Did the pants go in front or in back? I honestly had no idea; I kept swinging my hips forward and backward, eyeballing the distance between my jeans and the imminent free falling object. I could only squat for about 45 seconds at a time, both arms straight out to the sides bracing myself in a tremendous iron cross that would make an Olympic gymnast jealous. I was a nervous wreck for days, avoiding the toilet and corking it “until the time felt right.”

I had been completely spoiled by my previous living abroad experience those two years in Japan. Those people know how to go in style: built in bidets with dials to adjust the temperature, knobs to change the angle and pressure, and a button that when pressed plays the sound of tinkling water for the more modest goers. Even the seat was heated; you could take a nap on it and still look at yourself in the mirror afterward.

imageThere’s no toilet in the toilet

When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan I found not only an absence of the bells and whistles but the complete absence of a toilet at all. It did, however, force me to acclimate very quickly. I can cork it a good while, but there just ain’t no will power on God’s green earth that will stop a bout of giardia from passing as it so pleases.

Now a year on, I’ve grown so accustomed I just squat and play Sudoku on my cell phone – with a vice-like grip mind you – mashing the numbers and hoping it doesn’t fall. My legs have gotten more flexible. I can stay down for about 16 or 17 minutes before my feet go numb (I time it with my Sudoku games – don’t judge).

The one upside about being able to poop in a hole is that it is a truly transferrable skill. I can now poop in all kinds of holes in all kinds of places. Of all the things I’ve learned in the Peace Corps, that right there is the most satisfying.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s