When I am visiting a new place, my first two concerns are always the same: 1) food and 2) bathrooms, in that order. I want to know when we eat, what we eat, and how soon can it happen again. It’s biologically difficult to care that much about mealtime without also taking an interest in “the bathroom situation,” as I like to refer to it, so that’s inevitably my second line of questioning. And I know I’m not alone in this. So if you’ve been reading this blog and thinking to yourself, “Hyenas, cute babies, science, that’s all great, but what about when you really have to go?” this entry is for you.
Given that we don’t have running water, our bathroom situation is pretty stellar. When it’s a quick trip, so to speak, any old woods will do. But when you need a “second” (har har), we have a lovely toilet sitting atop a very deep hole in the middle of a delightful clearing. Although it’s not advisable to use it at night for fear of being joined by an equally gastrointestinally-plagued hippo, in the daytime it’s rather pleasant. Trees provide a cooling shade and birds will occasionally stop by to nod their approval and perhaps snag a bug or two. Aside from the camp lore of the monitor lizard that used to pop out of the hole every now and then, the whole experience can be quite charming.
Our shower is also pretty impressive, both in that we have one and in that it’s usually hot for at least part of the time. We have a battery-powered pump rigged up to a large container of water, with a showerhead attached to the other end. On its way from the container to our bodies, the water gets heated by burning kerosene. The shower area is discreetly enclosed by some tarps, so the only voyeurs are ants and monkeys. Overall, another refreshing outdoor experience.
Except when it’s raining.