That time I wrote about pooping in a cup

Writing this, my eyes dart back and forth between this screen and the screen blasting the Lion King.

I’m in Yaounde and a bunch of twenty-somethings have unanimously agreed that after a rousing documentary about everyone’s favorite F-centric four letter word, a round of Disney would balance us back out. Now we’re getting raw throats from screeching about the Circle of Life and how we just can’t wait to be king.

We’re gathered together for the half-way mark of our 27 month stint: Midservice.

Midservice is a weeklong event held in the capital, at the Case I’ve written about before. They break us up into sectors, so I’m surrounded by the pizzazz and moxy that marks a Youth Development volunteer—in spades. There’s 11 of us here now, only one down from our original Dazzling Dozen.

If you didn’t feel close to your stagemates before coming to Midservice, you certainly manage to by the end of it all. Besides being in close quarters for a week, you also face a laundry list of medical tasks to brave with your sector buddies.

I’ve produced about every bodily function I can for the sake of Peace Corps’ medical check-ups, most of them twice. Ever supportive, YD volunteer make sure cheers greet the volunteers that disappear into the bathroom and return with a brown paper bag, cup hidden within.

As if having a pep squad for you poops isn’t awkward enough, Peace Corps also requests that ,since they can’t do analyses on site, we travel to a local place to drop off our various samples. Local, however, is a loose term. A twenty minute drive later, you (and poo) arrive at the lab. Life is easier if you can ‘depot’ a taxi and buy it out so that only volunteers are traveling with you in this sad caca-mobile, but you don’t always luck out.

While it sounds like this feat would be easily achieved by waiting until we’ve all done the deed and then piling in, noses pinched, we don’t get off that light. The samples are time sensitive and we have a fairly small window in which to get them into the hands of the lab techs. Both laughter and stress have resulted from various volunteers trying to fit into others’ time constraints. A lot of fiber has been downed, coffee sipped, and cigarettes smoked in sometimes fruitless attempts to not have to go on a drop-off by yourself.

To round out this week of fun, we’ll show off what we’ve been doing these past sixteen months in the form of what Peace Corps calls ‘best practices’. Essentially, it’s Brag-Fest 2013 for me and my hardworking (and awfully successful!) friends. Only a scavenger hunt of
administrative staff, interviews with my Program Manager, and a talk with my Country director, and I’ll be finished. Medically A-Ok and headed back to the mountains, seventy-degree weather, and pidgin–A little bit healthier and whole lot more shameless.

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