Thursday, October 13, 2005

Nature Calls...

I don't know how to go about this delicately, so I won't even try. For those readers with more couth than I, skip today's entry because we're going down the public urination road.

I have seen occasional public toilets (two to be exact) in Accra and they cost money. Five hundred cedi- about a nickel, but remember we tip the tunnel guys a nickel, we can get a loaf of bread or a pineapple for fifty cents- so this isn't chump change here, especially for the locals. I wouldn't spend money on a pay toilet either, if my daily salary was only ten thousand cedi, which is common.

So what do you do? You know the answer already. What you probably don't know is how casual it is. On any drive around Accra, you will pass one or two people every mile peeing on a wall, into a ditch, or just watering the bushes. They generally face away from the road (thankyouverymuch), and they are completely unfazed by all the company they have as they go about their business. In our infinite maturity someone in the car will usually chant, "We know what you're doing!" in a sing song voice, not loud enough to be heard outside the car, of course, since the humor would be lost on them. As it is on most people over the age of five- what can I say...

Occasionally we've spotted women answering the call of nature publicly- a dress is a prerequisite, and it's accomplished in a fairly modest manner by squatting over a ditch, but in general, the women tend to be less visible in this endeavor.

It has never been a subject for discussion when Duke (our driver) is in the car, and we don't chant when he is with us. There are bathrooms available in Ted's office for free and the drivers will still pee on the parking lot wall, so we assume that Duke would not share our juvenile attitude.

When we get out into the Ghanaian countryside on day trips (if I can ever pry Ted out of the office long enough!), I'm wondering how quickly we will go native. Pretty darn quick I'm thinking. And dreading. We are veteran campers, but I have a reasonably shy bladder even in a pit toilet, so this isn't inspiring confidence. I'll let you know how it goes. Or maybe not.