Monday, November 22, 2010

Life's *Simple* Pleasures

A very giggly Din Din poses for a picture

Ahh....the simple pleasures in life. In America, things like air conditioning, cable, wireless internet, vehicles would come to mind. What about a running toliet? Last week, Sam had an eye opening experience when she had to teach a Palawano how to use a toilet. 

We have spent a lot of time with this family, and have countless pictures of the kids. They help us in the rice fields, and we take care of their sick children and give them medications when needed. In fact, their youngest, Mindy, was featured in our blog The Weekend Is Here. 

Well one day, while the men were in the fields, we were hanging out with the mom and kids. Then the mom started motioning that Din Din, one of her youngest sons, had to use the bathroom Sam said, "Oh ok. Come with me, I'll show you where it is." We walked into the house and she brought them to the bathroom and then closed the door for privacy. Soon the mom came out and was asking for "tubig" (which is Tagalog for water) So Sam figured it was so she could wash Din Din's hands. So she went in and turned the sink on and showed the mom that he could wash his hands in the sink. But the mom starting looking from the sink to the toilet with a puzzled look on her face. It was then that Sam noticed Din Din. He was standing on the toilet seat squatting over the toilet bowl. 
Din Din gets silly when his picture is taken.
The mom then started to motion that she needed a bucket to carry water to the toilet. "Ohhhh" Sam said realizing that she thought you had to flush the toilet with a bucket of water (which is EXTREMELY common in the Philippines. Even in our little pink house thats how we flush the toilet. But the toilets at the project are "high tech" and they actually flush. Anyways, back to story) "Oh, no here" Sam said. She motioned to the toilet "flusher" handle and pushed the lever down. The mom was surprised. Then Sam noticed she was looking for something to clean Din Din up. So Sam grabbed some toilet paper and motioned for her to wipe him with that. 
As the mom was wiping him, Sam began to wonder if she knew what to do with the toilet paper when finished. Sure enough when the mom was finished she was looking for a a place to put it. Sam told her "Just drop it in the toilet" The mom looked shocked. "No, really, its ok" Sam said. So she did. Afterwards, instead of washing Din Din's hands in the sink she took him to the water faucet out and back and had him wash his hands. (Perhaps too much of a culture shock for them?)  After that we went back to our usual day. However Sam was shocked that she just had to teach someone how to use a toilet.
Mindy is such a happy baby!

Its amazing, really, how much we take for granted. I know what you're all thinking, "Oh heres the big speech that all missionaries and world travelers bring back. How spoiled we are as a country and blah blah blah". But it's really true. Its almost like you can't fully appreciate life's simple pleasures until you see what they really are. We never thought that a flushing toilet would make our list of "Simple Pleasures". But it only took a mom and her 3 year old son to make us realize that it is. How many more of life's true pleasures will WE learn from these people....Till next time.

~Me and Her


Wendy said...

Wow, great story and great pictures both of you :) (by the way, what they are used to here in the Philippines is the "dipper", as I call it, to pour water over the kid's bottom to clean him (actually adults use it too). What joys! You want some great stories of Palawanos encountering toilets for the first time, ask Michel :) They're almost too graphic to publish here, but very funny, especially when you know the people and hear it straight from them (and they are now quite "civilized" so it's even funnier).

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