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Showers Without Borders and a New Family

In the "Cult of Escapism": Showers Without Borders and a New Family

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Showers Without Borders and a New Family

The Last of my First Host Family


Baby Julio
My last day with my first host family (November 30th) was much like any other.  I spent most of the day out of the house, for fear of being force-fed huge bowls of rice, then subsequently stalked by my host brother and barraged with questions by the other siblings.  When I finally did return, I played with Julio, my favorite member of the family, despite crying (screaming) every night at 2:00am (he has worms...what else would he do?).

Every Step You Take...
The stalker had backed off the last two weeks but my last few days with the family, he came on as strong as ever, hounding me to play cards with him while I was at home and resuming his habit of following me everywhere.  It was a little more tolerable than before, since I could feel the end so near but I could barely contain my excitement on the morning of my departure when I picked up my bag, dished out a series of extremely awkward hugs (Ngobes are not very warm, affectionate people) and took off.

A Meal
There were a lot of problems with the first family - the nasty shower/toilet situation, babies peeing on the ground of the house, oppressive siblings, limited diet, etc., but ultimately I think the lack of control over my privacy and personal schedule were what got me the worst.  Of course, a certain degree of this must be expected living with host families but it was particularly bad in this house and I'm happy to be in my new residence.  

House Upon a Hill
My new host family situation is a 180 from the first.  I have my own little living space, about thirty yards from the main house, the latrine and the latrine is far, far away from everything and the shower is far, far away from the latrine.  Also, the kitchen is nowhere near my room, so my clothes no longer smell like smoke and my lungs are being spared.  Additionally, we are literally on top of a mountain, so the air is clean, the area quiet, and the view spectacular.
Main House (Right), Kitchen (Left)

The family itself consists of my host mother, Cecilia, her two daughters, and their children (one each, a baby and a seven year old boy).  I really enjoy talking with Cecilia, she has a lot of stories and speaks good Spanish, which is rare in my community.  The seven year old is extremely hyper and the only time I haven't seen him moving was when I saw him sleeping once.  He also refuses to wear anything but a pair of underpants.  But he, like the rest of the family, generally just leaves me alone and I have enjoyed many undisturbed hours reading on the hammock outside of my living space.  I love it.
The Penthouse Sweet (aka my casita)

Rinse and Repeat
I soap my chest and stomach and start rubbing it in.  Ten feet to the left, Cecilia is chatting with her cousin on the porch.  There are no walls between us.  Occasionally, some kids playing soccer about twenty yards from me glance over and giggle.  I smile to myself and dump another bucketful of water over my head.

Our shower is outside and has no walls.  So each day, I put on a bathing suit, sit down on one of the wood planks and rinse and repeat in plain sight of everyone.  Occasionally, I even have a conversation while scrubbing my legs with soap.  It was a bit uncomfortable at first but, like every other weird thing here, I've gotten used to it.  By the way, I highly recommend sitting in the shower to anyone who has never tried, very relaxing.
The Shower/Laundry Room - Host Mom

The Windy Latrine Expose
While I have grown to love and welcome the northern wind here in Soloy, the other day it caused me some problems.  Our latrine has a curtain for a door and is plain sight of the house and surrounding yard.  As I approached the latrine, the wind was feeling particularly relentless and I realized that this might turn out to be a problem.

As I sat to do the deed, the curtain flew up over my head and I could plainly see my host mother washing clothes to the right, and a group of boys playing soccer to the left.  I grabbed the curtain with one hand and held tightly, willing the wind to relax for just a few minutes.  With this system, I managed to do what was necessary and I rose to enter the final act, which is when the real problem arose.  How was I going to stand and...finish...while still blocking the curtain?

I strategized for literally a few minutes before I found a position capable of both attacking and defending.  Crisis averted, I finished with expedience and exited stage center.

3 Comments:

At December 8, 2010 at 8:53 PM , Blogger Ila said...

bravo! encore! i feel living with john for three years was training for all these moments

 
At December 14, 2010 at 5:57 PM , Blogger Lara said...

Love the posts, glad you are feeling better and enjoying life in the 'pent house".

We got your package of coffee, thanks much!

Lara and Brian

 
At November 15, 2012 at 11:10 AM , Blogger bama said...

Privacy is relative. And I enjoy sitting in the shower, also! Billie

 

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