Monday, October 18, 2010

At least we had TP

To my dear male readers: this might be too much information for you.  Consider yourself forewarned.

When the dates of our Kenya trip were announced last spring I had two reactions.  First: Holy cow, we’re going to Kenya!  Second: Oh my word, that’s not a good week for me to have to use squatty potties.

(Boys, I told you this might be one you’d want to skip.)

When I realized I'd have to pack tampons with my anti-malaria meds I began praying my period wouldn’t start until the end of our time there.  That way, we’d be at the safari where the accommodations would be more American.  Translation: there would be working flush toilets.  I actually prayed for this.  Some days I prayed it out loud.  I was serious; I was not at all interested in using a hole in the floor in the first place, and I sure as heck wasn't interesting in using one during a time of the month I knew there was the possibility I'd be moderately unstable.

And you know what happened?  God gave me a big, ol’, “YES!”  For the first nine days I was good to go.  As soon as we hit the road to the safari, Aunt Flo came along for the ride.

Only problem is, I didn’t really know what it meant to, “Go on a safari.”  I thought it would be a little like going to the zoo; we’d look around a bit, then head back to the hotel.  But you know what a safari is like?  It’s like driving around in the middle of nowhere.  And staying there for four hours at a time.  And not seeing one single building the entire time.  Including a bathroom.

Not having a bathroom was going to be a problem.  A big problem.  I asked my friend, Nancy, who lives in Nairobi and is a safari pro, what we were supposed to do about potty breaks.  No problem, she assured me.  She packed toilet paper.  Great, I said.  But where am I supposed to use the toilet paper?

Right here, she said:

This may come as a surprise to my newer readers, but I don’t potty in the out-of-doors.  I think one of mankind’s best inventions is the flush toilet, and I enjoy using it.  I do not enjoy going to the bathroom in a place where there’s a great likelihood that what should go in the toilet will end up in my shoe. 

I have a choice at home; I simply don’t go places without toilets.  That’s right, people; I don’t camp.  But I didn’t have a choice in Kenya, so when Dan, Nancy’s husband, pulled the van over and said, “Bathroom break,” I knew my time had come.

Here’s something no one told Sean when we got married: One day you’ll hold up a blanket to shield your wife so she can have some semblance of privacy to go to the bathroom in the Masai Mari game preserve.  Not once, but twice.  Believe me, that was some good, quality bonding.

My camping friends would, I'm sure, love to hear that this experience opened my eyes to the wonder of doing outside what is normally done inside.  My camping friends are delusional.  When we returned to our hotel, I was more than thrilled to see the toilet.  I could have cried from joy. I even took a picture of it.

The moral of this story is: be very careful what you pray for because you just might get it.  And honey, I don't know if I ever thanked you - thanks for holding the blanket and for not making me go camping.

The guys on their potty break - thanks to Graham, Dan's son, for getting this shot!

And this is where I took care of business.  Well, not right there, of course...