Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Living a paperless life...

I did not think I would ever give in. I denied it, even a week ago. Vehemently too. But today, I consider a big day in my integration into senegalese life. I did not use toilet paper when i went to the bathroom.
Now, i dont' even know if this is an appropriate blog post seeing as how i'm supposed to represent the PC and all and i dont want to gross you all out at home, but i feel it must be shared so that you all understand.

In WEst Africa there is a left hand rule. basically, you dont do any greeting touching, etc with your left hand because it is reserved for bathroom functions. kind of a built in cultural cleanliness sytem. i still recommend washing hands though.
i had talked to other volunteers who were like, yeah, using your hand isn't so bad. really what people do is us a cup or a kettle and rinse with water at the same time. it's actually more sanitary in a lot of ways and cuts down on paper waste.

but i was unconvinced. unconvinced until today when there was no TP to be found and i took the plunge. and you know what? it was totally not a big deal at all. the water makes all teh difference in the world. and of course you just wash your hands afterwards.
I'm officially giving up on TP. it's expensive, hard to find, and boy will i be reducing my carbon footprint in the next two years. kind of awesoem huh??

i know what you're all thinking...she's insane. shes' lost her mind. is she going to stop washing herself soon? didn't take long etc. and i understand because sitting from where most of you are with flush toilets and all the amenities that we love so dearly, it seems like an impossible prospect to wipe your butt with your hand and water. but really i'm telling you. not so bad. and now i will have more money for internet time to post more fabulously enlightening stories like this one.
a bientot,


Lisa W. said...

rocks and sticks are quite luxurious too!... just a suggestion if you ever just want a good wipe!

Katy said...

Just wondering if you will make exceptions for serious times (eg food poisoning)

Also, Dale and his mountain men friends don't use TP when they do their extreme climbs and backpacking trips. They use pinecones and flat rocks. For even more of an overshare, they are supposed to spread it really thin on a rock or something out in the sun and it's called "shmearing" (not sure how to spell that.)
They give snow a good review for another tool but you might not find too much of that in Africa.

Happy wiping. I'll stick to the tp.