In a small Ukrainian village was a concrete slab with hole dug deep into the ground. The hole was big enough to fit a teenager down it, so it was human size. On top of the hole was a wooden structure built to give privacy to its guests. At the time of my arrival, this hole had been in use by a church congregation of 100 people for the past 13 years.
That’s right! Thirteen years of human waste caused a smell that can only be described by two words, “toxic FUMES.” The toxic fumes that can still penetrate your nasal passages through the two layers of clothing you are holding over your nose and mouth.
By the third day of my stay, I had a system….
- Roll up pants at the ankles.
- Unbuckle belt.
- Inhale deeply.
- Cover my mouth & nose.
- Run into the structure, squat, button.
- Run out before my lungs ran out of air.
Obviously, there were times when emergency breath’s had to be taken inside the perimeter. Come on!!! Do you know how hard it is to hold your breath, squat, and try not to get anything on your own feet? Trust me; the sticky concrete slab I stood on proved my theory. Not to mention, keeping yourself from passing out from the toxic fumes, which would only leave you….well, you know….in the hole….enough said.
So, one day I had to visit this structure for reason’s that our mother’s raised us to refer to as #2. I had been holding it so long that my body was not up for discussion; action was necessary. I thought, “There is NO WAY I am going to use that hole. I will pass out from the toxic fumes and fall in the hole. I looked for a bush to use, but there was nothing but an open field. So, I sucked it up. I’m a grown woman. I can do this. I’ve been in worse situations in other countries. I’m a missionary. I can do this. I assumed the position and went in for the count.
As I’m squatting, I realize that I can NOT hear the echo of my #2 in the hole. On breath count three, I arise to see that I have managed to miss this human size hole.
On a 1/2 inch piece of concrete located between the hole and the wooden wall, there it laid. My air was running out and I had to make a decision and make it fast. I can’t leave it there; other people will see it and talk about the missionary who couldn’t hit the hole.
You have to understand that under the influence of these toxic fumes, a woman can make crazy decisions. So, I did it….
I moved it. Don’t ask how, just know I took care of it.
….it’s not over…. it gets worse…..
I walk out of this place of torture into the fresh air to see someone waiting to use the hole. Oh, good! I made the right decision.
My friend greeted me and said, “Are you ready? We are leaving.” (Our next location was a modern city that had a western toilet.)
All I could say was, “Of course, we are.”
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