Friday, February 17, 2012

Two Absolutely Adorable Revelations of Children in Bots

I want to share a couple things that I have noticed in my time here. They are in reference to some absolutely adorable revelations made by kids here that I bet you'd never think of. Prepare to say "awww"!
Flush Toilets
This is a pit latrine. It is essentially the same sort of pit latrine that is found all over Botswana. For many of my readers, it is most easily defined as an outhouse. In America, this sort of toilet is very uncommon (except at music festivals or major outdoor events when we set up porta-pottys). Here, however, it is very widespread, as many families do not have indoor plumbing. Totally normal. 
This is a flush toilet. It is essentially the same sort of flush toilet that is found all over the United States. It has also been adopted around the globe, including in Botswana. Most households that have running water and indoor plumbing have similar toilets. Both of my homes in Botswana were among those with flush toilets (albeit with their own idiosyncrasies - another story). Because I am so accustomed to having a flush toilet, I thought nothing of it when the kids that came over to my house asked to use the toilet. At first, they would creep into my bathroom and sit on it, do their business, and leave without flushing. After a while, I figured this out and decided to show them how to flush. The first time I flushed the toilet, the kids went running out of the bathroom screaming. They were scared of the sound and didn't want to stick around to find out what that sound indicated. This made me giggle. Once they got used to it, however, they found the flushing to be so so so aweeesssoooommmeeee! And then the kids would venture into the bathroom, to use the facilities I assumed, and then I wouldn't see them again for fifteen or so minutes. But I would hear the toilet flush a half dozen times at least. They were absolutely fascinated by the flushing action, watching the water spin around and go down the drain then fill back up again. It was almost like a game. Now, this could be misinterpreted as a fun game or entertainment and perhaps not quite the revelation I imagined. I asked at my new NGO if that was something they dealt with too when the youngest kids (around 3 or 4-years-old) started coming to the preschool for the first time. My question was met with a resounding YES. It turns out that this humorous process was not just followed by the Kums Kids but rather by kids all over Botswana that are being introduced, for their very first time, to the magic and wonderment of the flush toilet.
One day, when I was still living in Kumakwane, I heard a story from the other PCV that lived in the village of three little girls who were very dressed up and excited about something. When she asked them what they were so excited about, they responded (in that soft-spoken adorable way that only little children can) that they were going to Gaborone to see the "flying stairs". Of course, the image of stairs with wings on it were the first things that crossed her mind. Where were these mythical stairs? She inquired further. They told her that the new mall at the bus rank had flying stairs and that they were getting to go to Gabs to ride them. It suddenly dawned on her that they were referring to the escalator that had recently been put in. Wow. How precious!
So there you have it - two absolutely adorable revelations made by children in Botswana. Things we take for granted having grown up with them but which are amazing discoveries here.

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