A year ago, I had found myself in a car full of women. Ok, back up. It’s not as weird as it sounds. My “sister”, Betty, had lost her grandmother. This old woman had been a very active Christian woman, so her death came as a shock to many. So, when the time for the burial came, my mom said she would attend, both in tribute to Betty’s grandmother and in support of Betty. Five more women, all close to my mom, all volunteered to go as well. Suddenly, there was a group of six women, all needing to get to Kampala. After some careful thought, I volunteered to go along as a bodyguard, and also to show my support and love for Betty. So, two days later, I found myself bouncing up and down on the dirt roads of Kiwoko, sitting in a women-dominated car.
The funeral was fairly nondescript. We arrived, sat through the two services, buried the coffin, then had lunch. It was what took place afterward, however, that was rather amusing.
Now, during this car ride, I had drunk a lot of water. After this car ride, we sat for over three hours, and I wasn’t able to leave and *cough* relieve myself. The first opportunity presented itself after lunch, when we milled about, waiting for the driver to bring our car around. Seeing it would be some time before the car arrived, I went to search for a bathroom. Unfortunately, the best place I found was a small latrine, and there was a large line in front of it. This line was made up completely of old women (there had been about 200 older women at the funeral). I waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, I was second in line to use the latrine, and it had been four hours since I had felt that pressing need to use a bathroom. The woman in front of me, seeing the expression on my face, was kind enough to let me go in front of her. Now, normally I am chivalrous enough to refuse that sort of offer, but by this point, I was completely focused on being able to do my business. So, after the woman in the latrine stepped out, I opened the door and walked in.
I found myself standing in two inches of “water”. This mystery liquid could have been made up of anything, but I hoped it was simply rainwater. (Looking back on it, I realize that the area hadn’t had any rain for a few weeks) So, stepping extremely carefully, I managed to do my business.
Now, this is ample opportunity for you ladies to look up to the sky and scream “EWWWW!” If you wish to do so, please go ahead. Also, I promise you, my stories do not consist mainly of my bathroom expeditions (see my blog post The Ultimate Insult, found here). However, I’m fond of telling this story, so I figured I might as well post it.
Now, you’re probably wondering why this is relevant.
“Elisha, you idiot, you just told a story without a moral.” You might grumble to your computer or phone screen. Well, hold on a second. I’ll get to that.
When this situation took place, I was almost 15 years old. That means it was about a year and a half ago. I was not the same person then as I am now. Despite that, I am fairly certain that if that situation was repeated, I would have the same disgusted reaction to that latrine. Even today, I would groan and mumble to myself about sanitation and lazy workers. But you know what? While that seems to be a natural, appropriate response, I’ve realized what I should have said.
“God, thank you for this latrine!”
Now, why should I praise God for a latrine that contained two inches of mystery water, no toilet seat, and three baby mice (I could hear them)? Well, the answer is simple- there are people on this planet that do not have nearly enough money to build a latrine. When they need to use the bathroom, they do their business outside, the way God intended. Why should I, the Amerigandan boy, complain about a bathroom that was in (mostly) usable condition, when simply thirty minutes before, I had been happy to find a bathroom at all. Shame on me, being picky when my only other option was behind a tree.
All right, I think you understand what I’m saying. Even in the worst, most horrible situations that we encounter, there is always something to be thankful for. So yeah, Praise God for this latrine!
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