This entry is all about poop. If you’re not interested in Peace Corps poop stories, want to keep your mental images pure or you’re already feeling nauseated, skip this entry. You’ve been warned.
So my family’s latrine, as I’ve pointed out before, is really far from the house. Like a football field away. Remember that I live in a tree house like structure and I have to descend a ladder to get outside. And I keep forgetting to get a flashlight. And it’s dark as shit in the campo when the sun goes down. Also, the latrine is nasty. The hole is almost full. Every time you got in there to take a shit, you can see mounds of other people’s shit below. And le
So about two months ago, I had a horrible fever for four days and couldn’t really get out of bed. I sweated through hoodies kind of fever. Surprisingly enough during this time, my poops were fairly healthy. I mean, I probably have some level of diarrhea like between 25-45% of the time. So the days I have good poop are noteworthy and my friends and I usually talk about the good ones. Anyway, during the sick spell, I couldn’t get to the latrine. I had to figure out what to do about this situation. I felt so gross, nasty and had no dignity left at this point, so I looked around my room for options. Black plastic bags. Could I do it? I wasn’t sure, but that seemed like the best I could come up with. So I positioned myself in my room, rested my knee against my wall and used both hands to hold the bag where a toilet should be. And dammit all to hell, it worked. I couldn’t believe it but it worked. And really it wasn’t so bad. So I doubled-bagged the situation and placed it on my balcony. Well after about four days, my balcony was starting to look like the episode of Dexter where they unearth the Bay Harbor Butcher’s burial grounds.
Ok, so the fever broke. Now that the hell was I going to do with like five bags of shit? And let me tell you, the double-bag system isn’t exactly air-tight if you know what I mean. So I had to get them out of my room undetectably and get them to the latrine without anyone watching and throw them down the hole. But I couldn’t just toss them down there; I had to make sure they weren’t in the line of site because I didn’t want to have to explain that to my host family. I decided to put them in a bigger bag and put that in my backpack on my way out one day. So I got a stick and threw the bags in the latrine and poked at the bags until they were out of sight on the sidelines.
Then I called the Peace Corps office in Lima and asked them if they could front me enough money to give my family to finish their bathroom close to the house they started to build. Luckily for me they came through. But not soon enough. I thought my bag days were over…
I don’t know how in the first six months or so I managed to only have to poop during the daytime hours. A few times afterwards, the minute the sun went down, I felt it coming on. So I had to bag it a few more times after dark. Jesus.
Then eventually, as things take forever to happen here in Peru, I now have a toilet in the bathroom near the house. No sink or lights or a shower, but a toilet that flushes at least most of the time. I thought my bag days were over…
I was at my friend’s place in a site like two hours away for a meeting. Her bathroom is outside and through another door that opens with a key. We had separated to run some errands and she had the key to the bathroom. I was in her room and was getting sick. I tried to change positions so mitigate the stomach pains to no avail. I started sweating I had to poop so badly. So I frantically looked around the room for a plastic bag. Back to my old habits. I tied it up trying to figure out what the hell to do with it. I opened the door to put it outside somewhere and there my friend was, ready to come in with the other key. But it was too late.
Now I’m pretty sure the bag days won’t be over till I move back home. And given my general poor level of hygiene, I mean, whatever.