Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Chaco Incident

People in my life are always saying things like "that to you a lot" or "I can't believe that bird pooped on you twice" or "did you really just sit in that?" I have decided to embrace the universe's gifts of fecal mater and share with you all in hopes of making someone's day a little brighter knowing there is a person like me in the world sucking up some of the bad luck.
Last Christmas morning I haphazardly slipped on my Chacos and walked in my sleepy haze to the pit latrine at PCV Ryan Luckie's house. Once inside and "in position" I realized that my shoe had come off somehow - I'm honestly not quite sure how it managed to happen and believe me it is a quandary that was discussed at great length. I stood there in amazement for a few minutes just staring at the hole...I then managed to step outside with my one remaining shoe and was greeted by non-other than Jenny Everett. She took one look at my bewildered face and mismatched feet - burst into laughter and shouted "IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!" - ran inside - and gave everyone the hilarious news. Later I thought about asking engineers, Ryan Luckie and Christy Prouty, to devise a plan of retrieval. But it was a lost cause at that point because we all had already relieved ourselves that morning onto my show that lay 25 feet below. For me, Christmas 2010 will always and forever be the Christmas of "the Chaco incident".
It was later brought to my attention that perhaps the Chaco company would find the story funny and pathetic enough to send me another shoe so the following is my plea to them:
I am writing to you as a plea for assistance. I am a Peace Corps volunteer and am currently residing in the middle of nowhere Africa and recently lost one of your wonderful sandals in a pit latrine. Christmas morning I went to relieve myself and did not properly secure my sandal to my foot; as I got into the proper position my right foot hovered momentarily over the hole and your lovely sandal slipped off of my foot and plummeted into the abyss below. The anxiety of losing my shoe made the need for relief even worse - I therefore was forced to "go number 2" on my sandal which was 20 feet below. I am informing you of this matter in hopes that you will help make my wish for a Christmas miracle come true and supply me with another sandal (ZX/2 Vibram Unaweep, women size 10, medium width, color black). I only need the right one but wouldn't mind getting a complete pai. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Apparently, the disgruntled Chaco Email Correspondent in charge of addressing customer service concerns did not find my story amusing and didn't believe that I'm volunteering in Africa as the following email I received doesn't even acknowledge the ridiculousness of my story nor does it offer a realistic option to someone without a Credit Card, reliable mailing system, or the ability to spend 1/4 of their monthly living allowance on a shoe.
Fortunately we are able to make matches for single Z-model sandals and we do it all the time. Supplies, particurlarly for sandals orginally manufactured prior to 2006, are limited however and we do require that you send us the existing sandal so we can correctly build your match. The price for the sandal itself is $30 and we accept Visa or MasterCard. By the time you pay for shipping to us, the new sandal, and return shipping, you are looking at a total of around $46. Way better than $95 for a new pair! If you would like to place an order, please contact ReChaco team at 888-211-9211
In the end, my beloved mother sent me a new pair of Chacos so all is well.
Amanda Weigle, Uganda, 2010-2012

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Leading off

Hello All:
So this is the start of this blog! I am very excited to hear all current and past volunteer stories about their digestive stories: glorious or horrid. I will start with my first poop story in this country:
When you arrive in country (at least in Uganda) you are placed with a host family and the PC tells you that you need to purchase a bucket because when you need to go to the bathroom, your host family will lock up the house. Which means you will not be able to go outside to use the pit latrine and you will need to do your business in your bucket. I woke up one night in my room to find myself needing to use my bucket desperately. I went pretty quickly and was not interested in substance but you clearly know (good or bad, bad in this case) when you go. I woke up at 6 in the morning to pick up my bucket and dispose of it in my pit latrine. My bucket is a small garbage pale. There are 2 layers to this device. The first is the exterior with a step to open it, and a handle. The second area is gray that holds my business. I went to lift my bucket and once about a foot off the ground, the handle breaks! Gravity sends it back to earth with my last gasp hoping that the bucket stays upright, but alas it tips to its left, and the urine and poop combine to create a nightmare. My host family are waking up right now to fetch water and there is no ceiling in my room (a roof yes, ceiling no) and I am panicking where I can not scream, but I'm mouthing my curse words and breathing like an asthmatic because I don't want my host family to know. I grab my laundry soap and throw it on the pooine (poop+urine cohesion) and immediately grab my bucket and clean it so efficiently that CSI couldn't identify the crime. Luckily laundry soap can harden pooine and make it an easy clean. This all before 7 AM.
Nick Duncan, Uganda, 2010-2012