Monday, July 13, 2009

For the Burundi Record

Do not panic if you find yourself sitting through a seven hour ceremony that commenced at 8am just after tea and breakfast when half way through (at the time you never would imagine that the 3.5 hr mark was only halfway) you develop an urgently full bladder. Just because public bathrooms are generally not available at massive public gatherings and indeed at the moment there are thousands of eyes looking in your direction because your white skin has placed you in dignitary seating behind a gigantic podium where a very important man has been making loud proclamations for a really long time, doesn't mean there aren't bathroom options. Count your lucky stars that your Burundian friend is sitting nearby and that one of the five languages she speaks is the only one that you do and try to gently communicate in a veiled way that you have this issue.
Don't feel awkward when you stand up in front of all of those thousands of eyes to make your way past the police with the AK 47's there to protect this Quaker celebration. Feel confident in your friend when she leads you down a dirt foot path through a banana tree grove to the first house you come to and knock on the door. Do not worry when you ascertain that no one is home and are told to use their outhouse anyway. While you are crouching do be mindful of your aim. Lastly, do not feel shy about the 25 children who have been following you the whole time.

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