Updated: Nov 26, 2019
There before me were two doors. Both were occupied, so my bladder waited patiently like my mother taught me growing up. We had driven 45 minutes to this village, so there were no restrooms available. We were only surrounded by plants, a dirt road, and the bush. This water closet experience looked to be promising considering there were doors and the structure was made of concrete. Two things that are not common in most villages I had visited.
To my excitement, one door opened and I hurried in, but something wasn’t right here. This didn’t look like I expected it to look. There was a large, rectangle, concrete whole full of water built into the back wall with a scoop floating on top. Below it on the ground was a 4 inch drain that ran from one side of the structure to the other side.
The sign over the door clearly said the words, “Bathroom,” so I had a quick chat with myself, “Khristina, you have been in a lot of different countries, and experienced a lot of different things, surely you can figure this one out.”
Since the large hole was filled with water and had a scoop, then the small hole in the floor must be where I’m supposed to use the toliet. Then you use the scoop to gather water from the large basin to wash the excretions down the hole. Makes since, right? I had done this before and with my bladder becoming uncooperative, well, I just moved forward with that plan.
A month later I returned to the same village with a fellow missionary. When we arrived, I told her about my unique experience with the bathroom. She had to see for herself, so we stood again waiting for the current occupants to come out of the two doors.
This time, my friend entered the door I used and I entered the door that was occupied on my first visit. As I stepped inside the door I was horrified. Before me was a western style toilet.
I walked outside and looked above the door at the sign that clearly said, “Comfort Room.” In the Philippines, you refer to the toilet area as a “CR” or “Comfort Room.” Clearly, in my head, I had always gone to the “bathroom” growing up when my mom told me to go “potty.” In America when you need to use the toilet, we go to the “bathroom.” In my limited understanding of this culture paired with the pain of my full bladder, I obviously made a mistake.
As I stood there in embarrassment, my friend and I laughed. I had peed in the floor of the place these people wash their bodies.
Let’s look on the bright side…. At least it wasn’t # 2!
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