Monday, January 24, 2011

The Old Outhouse

When we first arrived in the village at the invitation of the Ye'kwana indians, they had helped us start building our house. Made of adobe bricks, jungle poles, mud for mortar, and a palm leaf roof, it was rustic.

We were living in an indian's house for several months while we built ours. At this time there was no water pump , and of course no running water means no indoor plumbing. Thus the need of an outhouse.

The outhouse we were "loaned" was a little skimpy as indians are not in much need of privacy. Amazing what one can train the body to do, or in this case, NOT to do. My husband and some indians set to building our own outhouse. I had one small request...WALLS, please!

He went beyond that and decided to build a TWO SEATER. WOW! The children were amazed at such luxuries and I was thrilled. Ok, so there was no door...but we had walls and it faced the jungle.

I hung up a sheet as a door which worked well except when windy, or if a dog.... or pig... or indian wanted to join you.

We waited for the next flight out to the village by the missionary pilots of MAF. We still had no short wave radio to communicate with anyone outside of the village.
The flight was scheduled for about a month ahead. The plane arrived with supplies, and we would give the pilot a list of things to buy for the next month. Then you waited. So the supplies , things like hinges for the doors, would take a month or more to get back to you.

Clint hired an indian to build us doors for the outhouse, and emphatically explained we wanted a way to lock the doors.We left for a short trip to town and upon our return, found two beautiful doors in place.

One small problem was that the homemade "latches" to lock the doors were placed on the outside as the indian was sure we had meant to say it that way, because who in their right mind would want to lock themselves IN such a place! Obviously, we meant to lock others OUT to keep them from getting in at all. Oh well, the joys of miscommunications in a cross-cultural environment.

I must say , the out house was great. Roomy, airy, and PRIVATE!Unless someone opened the door on you.

Around this time, we had American visitors and Jewel who was 4 or so, proudly escorted the lady to the outhouse and offered to stand guard outside the door. Jewel had recently been to McDonalds while in the city, and with great pride announced that our outhouse was, " just like McDonalds". To our final day in the jungle we refereed to the out house as "McDonalds" .We all made several trips to McDonalds a day. Upon questioning her, we determined she was referring to the two seats and the stalls in McDonalds. Oh to be a kid.

So it was common to be in the outhouse and hearing someone approach to call out,
" Ocupado!" (occupied) so as not to have another person run right in on you. And as was the usual case, the person on the outside would feel compelled to start up a conversation with you.

One day, yours truly is in the outhouse and hears rustling outside. I figured it to be one of my family and called out, "ocupado"! The rustling continued. Sometimes closer, I would say, "STILL OCUPADO", and the rustling would move off. This happened several times. Finally as I opened the door, all the while talking to my loved one who had patiently waited their turn, I ran face to face with a ...PIG!
I must say it was the politest pig I have ever met. I stood with the door ajar and the pig moseyed on in ...

I told the family about the visit by the friendly pig and for a few days, every time I would enter McDonalds, one of them would make sure to come out and make pig grunts for my enjoyment. Jackie is the champion Pig Impersonator of the family!!!

One day, the pig sounds were particularly obnoxious. I kept rebuking the person I most suspected, my hubby! I had been calling out for "CLINT" to stop and leave me in peace and was quite miffed at him for pursuing his game well past the point of comedy, but when I opened the door, it was to find the largest, wild pig I have ever seen, and this one was not polite!


Happy Elf Mom said...

Do you want fries with that?

What a funny post!!

Jeni said...

Oh my goodness! I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud since I'm in the office reading this, but how funny!!!

Amrita said...

Dear Jungle Mom, I am blessed by your blog.

In the old days missionaries ( pioneer) also faced similar conditions, but now things are vastly improved, except for the very remote tribal areas.