Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Bucket showers suck, Beaufort beer rocks

I loaded some photos of my trip to Togo on Flickr, and you can view the slideshow if you’re interested.

I’ve been back in the States for four days, and still a bit disoriented. What I’m realizing most is that I adjusted very quickly to being in Africa–the bucket showers (always cold water), the crowded vans, the lack of variety in the food (God help me if I eat another yam); what is surprising is my slow acclimation back in the States. We have so many things! American roads don’t have potholes (well, they’re a rarity, and they’re sure to be fixed)! We are so very privileged, and I’m still in shock when I drive my little Mini Cooper to notice how spacious and developed the urban landscape of Boston seems.

It’s a bit of a cliche, but I think you live closer to the Earth in Ghana or Togo. Using a latrine, without a flushing toilet, you can’t avoid the fact that you’re shitting in a hole in the ground. And when you forget to bring toilet paper, you’re really reminded how we take for granted clean restrooms everywhere in the States.

Also, I ate a lot–A LOT–of street food in Togo. I was never worried about getting sick; in fact, the food was more fresh and tasty. If I ate a kebab from a woman grilling it over an oil can in Badou, I knew that the beef was likely killed that morning, that any of the chickens running around the streets would soon be in my stomach, and that the food I ate didn’t magically appear in my deli case, wrapped in plastic and butchered so that the ugly parts of the chicken were out of sight.

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3 Responses

  1. ggt72 says:

    I love this. Please write more! Great details. I was reminded of the ever-present tabo (water jug for cleaning yourself) that my parents have been slow to give up even though the showers in the States do the job. They were telling me stories about using a stick to clean themselves (forget about toilet paper, they didn’t even have old newspapers to do the job).

    P.S. Alonso is going to be so jealous when I tell him you have a mini-cooper now.

  2. Yeah, I know–my mom gets mad if I don’t leave the tabo in the bathroom, too!

    Tell Alonso he can ride in my mini-cooper anytime he wants to.

  3. […] I’m traveling to Ghana once again with a group of undergraduates, where we’ll be teaching 200 African schoolchildren computer literacy skills (click here or here for videos about student experiences at the Boston College-Ejisu Computer Camp). More than teaching the students, however we will be the beneficiaries: we’ll learn about Ghanian culture, family life, and the nation’s long democratic history. I’m looking forward to traveling and immersing myself in Ghanian culture (and Burkina Faso and Mali, too). […]

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About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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