So if you go back two blog entries I seemed to have made an empty promise about another liquid story. Well, I am anything but a liar. (Unless I’m talking about my morals to a Ugandan… then I need to stretch the truth a little… “oh yes I was baptized in the Catholic church, oh I can’t go to 5 hours of church with you on Sunday because Americans only pray in their rooms…alone, oh yes absolutely pre-marital sex is Satan on earth” this could go on for a while, so I’ll stop)
A few months ago, in the middle of training, all the volunteers in my training group learned their future site location. It was time to learn because in a few days we would be jet-setting off into the wild to visit these sites, in what is called our “Future Site Visit.” During these three days you see where you are going to be living, and test the waters of your organization, sniffing for any large signs of corruption. Emphasis on the large, because small corruption, will absolutely be there. At our sites, every volunteer is given a counterpart and supervisor. The supervisor you report to (in theory) over your two years, and your counterpart serves as your local helper, guide to the inside, co-worker, person you go to with all of your eki buzzo, (pronounced “etchy booze-oh”, or “questions” in my local language). Moral of the story, you should be comfortable with your counterpart. This story, as you will soon learn, sadly did not get my opinion of my counterpart off to a good start.
I arrived anxiously at Nyakibale Hospital and Karoli Lwanga Nursing School and was shortly (20 min standing alone deflecting the ongoing bombardment of stares, Eminem’s song lyrics “you act like you never seen a white person before” blaring in my head) greeted by my counterpart Sister Florence. Sidenote: she is not a nun I eventually learned. Nurses who teach are called Sister. And they aren’t Teachers, they are Tutors… yay for small differences no one teaches me and just let me slowly piece together like a moron.
Anywho… Sister Florence shows me to her house and invites me to sit on her couch. I smell a faintly familiar and pungent smell emanating throughout the house, but cast aside those thoughts as Sister Florence introduces me to her child Emma. Emma is wearing a pink sweat-pant set with princesses on them. I've never really been a big fan of children or “shi-theads” as I affectionately call them. (I hope the hyphen helps you, the reader, understand that I’m just mispronouncing shitheads. =)) Florence and I awkwardly chat for a few minutes before she is called away to deal with a situation between two nursing students. She asks me, nay, casually requests I watch after Emma as the door is closing behind her. Emma stares at me as we both sip our sodas through straws. I sniff the air again… what is that smell? I continue sniffing as Emma and I size each other up. Emma finishes her drink and begins walking around the living room.
No signs of danger yet.
Emma’s soda kicks in and she picks up the pace.
Yellow warning lights begin flashing in my mind.
But I am distracted…What is that smell?... why can’t I figure it out?
Focus on the child Khayla!
Emma is now circling the room at full throttle shouting in what I thought was the local language, but I am now convinced was tongues. Because I have yet, even to this day, heard this child speak one word I understand. Finding herself in front of the bookshelf/entertainment set, Emma begins King Kong-ing up the furniture. Looking back, I see how this might have been a good moment to step in, but… it all happened so fast, okay?! As my mind flashes again in a vain attempt to identify the mystery smell, Emma jumps/falls/ launches off the furniture and stands in the middle of the room staring at me. Then with eyes intently locked on each other, hers reflecting insanity, mine reflecting a look of “what the fuckery” Emma begins to piss her pants. Then is hits me. THAT IS WHAT THE SMELL IS. It’s urine. This child regularly golden showers this entire place. As the wet stain spreads over most of this 4 year old child’s sweatpants she kicks her bottoms off, and I learn something I didn't know before. Emma is a boy. Whoops. Doesn’t really rank up there with my surprises of the day. Besides; Emma… Pink clothes.
If you only learn one thing from my adventures… Don’t assume anything in Africa.
Emma begins to pull on “little Emma”, our eyes still locked, and then she charges me. I remain seated on the couch staring in disbelief, too dumbfounded to act. At the last second Emma removes her hands from her crotch and clutches both grubby little grabbers onto my soda and straw. Congratulations Emma, your crazy ass has just won a half empty soda. Not half full. I place the soda on the table concedingly in defeat. Emma disregards her winnings and jumps on the couch next to me where she… no HE, proceeds to play and tug on herself, spread eagle, pointed directly at me.
At this point I assume I just kinda blacked out, because my memory gets fuzzy. I remember thinking, “there is no way to know where in this house is safe to sit, any form of communication with this child has already proved futile, I can’t believe I couldn't figure out that smell before because it’s totes obvi (totally obvious for you old people) now. “ SIDENOTE: as if bragging, my new little puppy Brutus just went outside through the doggy door (simplified term for open hole where a glass panel broke) in the torrential downpour to pee, because even at two months old, she knows better than pissing in the house.
|Taken today during a Blog writing break. Spoiled. I know.|
When Emma gets bored joyriding himself, he finds a nice spot in the corner of the room to pee AGAIN and playfully splashes around in it. My children IF I EVEN HAVE ANY NOW, will never drink soda until they are old enough to have a job and buy it themselves. When Sister Florence returns, I’m not sure what her reaction will be… but as her eyes full upon her bottomless, sticky, only child, a smile spreads across her face as she affectionately proclaims “there’s my sweet little Emma?” Not able to trust my mouth if I stay any longer I grab my purse, thank Sister Florence for half of a soda, and say good evening.
I haven’t spent more than a few seconds with Emma since this fateful day. But I’m sure I can’t put it off forever. Recently Sister Florence came to my house to say hello and saw the yoga ball I brought with me to use as my office chair. (I hate yoga, but I LOVE yoga balls, they are the perfect piece of furniture ; chair, footrest, back popper etc…) I explain to Florence that in America, some people use this as a chair. Her immediate response, “I bet Emma can’t wait to play with it!” I'm positive it's Ugandans who coined the term, “In one ear and out the other” Before I can figure out how to say “over my dead body” in the local language, I changed the topic for the sake of our relationship.
I don’t know if it’s possible to have your tubes tie themselves, but I’m pretty sure mine did on that fateful day. Notify CNN, I am the reverse Virgin Mary. Merry Christmas Everybody!