Friday, January 13, 2012

Night soil

"Hold your hair back," I called out to Rachel as I ran from the bathroom gasping for breath. It was under the guise of getting a glass of water for her that I left her to throw up on her own.

I'm such a good mom.

I've dealt with enough throw up lately even though, admittedly, we've been given a decent break. I almost can't remember those six-ish weeks my girls took turns throwing up through November and December.

Just kidding. I remember it a whole lot. Worst first trimester ever!

I've yet to throw up due to pregnancy. I've thrown up while pregnant due to stomach flu or food poisoning but I have never thrown up just because I'm pregnant. And while that sounds nice enough it doesn't mean that I don't ever feel nauseated or that I lack a gag reflex (because I sure was gagging this morning while I took care of Rachel).

I was also gagging yesterday while I cleaned out Miriam's little potty. Whether she likes it or not (and she doesn't) I've been transitioning her to the big potty for the simple reason that I can't stand to empty her little potty anymore. The only times she uses it are when she takes herself or when her daddy takes her. And maybe I'll talk to him about being devoted enough to hold Miriam on the big potty because he doesn't like emptying her potty and usually leaves it for me to do and right now it's a chore that I can hardly get through.

We've been discussing human waste a lot lately, anyway.

Recently Andrew found out what projects he'll be helping with when he goes to Ghana. They work with the church every year (last year they did some research for the Perpetual Education Fund) and also help a non-profit organization with a project (last year they did some research on market hierarchies). This year their non-profit organization is SainTerre. They'll be helping to develop marketing strategies for the Soilet, "a simple, innovative and sustainable sanitation solution built in the developing world for the developing world. The Soilet digests human waste in a...mini ecosystem."

"Oooh, like PeePoople!" I said, when Andrew explained it to me.

I told you we discuss human waste a lot—not only do we have a potty-training two-year-old but we have a strong interest in developing countries. The topic of poop comes up...often.

SainTerre got second place in BYU's Social Venture Competition in 2009. Since their aim seems rather remarkable—potentially solving sanitation problems for 40% of the world—I asked Andrew who won first place. He said it was 2 ft Prosthetics, a company that makes affordable ($25) prosthetics, but he was mistaken—they didn't win until 2010. Still, they're both brilliant ideas and work to solve a very specific problem which I believe (and I think William Easterly would back me up on this) is a good thing. The things people think up are simply amazing.

So, in class, they discussed the Soilet at length—how it works, the worms needed to break down the solids, how long it takes, how you have to scrape out the compost in the end, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. All of it is sounding rather gross to me.

Then Andrew said, "And then Aaron asked the class to decide if they'd rather work with the church or with SainTerre. He asked everybody who wanted to work with the church to raise their hands..."

"And let me guess," I said, "Everybody raised their hands."

"No! Nobody raised their hand—everybody wanted to work with the Soilet!"

Andrew said he then explained that while they're in Ghana they'll get to do research for both teams and that what team they're on really only matters when they do the final write-up. So they were able to convince some people to stray from the Soilet to the church (with the promise that they'd be able to work with the Soilet as well).

When Andrew first decided to apply to return to Ghana I really wanted to tag along with him. Financially it wasn't feasible but I kept looking for a way to make it work, anyway. But then I got pregnant and the option of going to Ghana literally flew out of the window—the yellow fever vaccination is not recommended when you're pregnant and it's required to enter Ghana, unless you get a waiver from your doctor. However, pregnant women are particularly tempting to mosquitoes so they're at higher risk for getting bitten and thus contracting yellow fever and/or malaria, neither of which is particularly wonderful to get when you're pregnant, so the chances of getting a waiver during pregnancy is not particularly high, especially when the trip is not mandatory and I can avoid being exposed to pathogens simply by not going.

Besides, I'm not sure I could spend three weeks discussing how to create sanitary night soil without gagging the whole way through it.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting...and amusing. =) Sometimes I wish there were a "like" button for blog posts. It was first trimester queasiness that finally got me motivated to have Kathryn use the real toilet too. I despised cleaning the little potty and no one else around here would do it.

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