Shit happens. Those of us with IBD or an ostomy know that it happens more often than not! And that my friends, is with laughter.
stories of people pooping their pants
Here I was, in rural India, with no real access to a washing machine or shower, with a poopy pants problem. One of the girls I was living with had already left the room to use the bathroom, and there was going to be a line. I opened the shuttered window, thanked Binaji for the tea, and began to get ready to start the day. Really, anybody else? There is no real garbage infrastructure in that area of rural India, and there was no way I was going to leave that particular garbage for my host family to dispose of themselves.
I felt sorry for myself. All of the toilet paper and wipes, and yes, even the poopy pants, made it into my bag. The house was white with blue shutters.
I probably knew, deep down somewhere, that I would never go someplace that challenged my way of living if I tried to plan it myself. Unluckily, I had no access to garbage disposal. It was square, with a large bed in one corner.
So we ate peaches and tried to come up with innovative hand gestures to describe our hopes, struggles, and the world around us. She motioned for us to move closer. When I woke up on that fateful morning, I was feeling a little off-kilter. The toilet itself was a ceramic hole in the ground, that required a person squat to use it.
I could buy new pants, and no one would ever know if I threw the old ones away. It never failed to burn my sensitive hands. I had an accessible toilet. A flock of swallows had evidently occupied the room before we did. The door to the bathroom was a piece of tin, with holes in it just large enough to make you pretty sure others could see inside, and held closed by a short length of string clasped to a rusty nail in the wall. Peaches, pears, apples, cucumbers, plums, and cabbages thrive on the tiered mountain sides. I was in control of my own movements and self.
With a hollowed out stick she blew on the flame to just the right height, and then grabbed the hot chapati with bare fingers and handed it directly to one of us.
Three women share the story of the time they pooped their pants.
I rinsed them out and washed them again, and again, and again. I swatted past dancing butterflies and hopping frogs to the bathroom stall and banged on the door. At what point did it become me who was off having adventures and diarrhea, and not someone else? There I squatted, uncontrollable bowel functions on one end and a large spider inching closer and closer on the other, and I wondered at what point this had become my life. In a small village in India, someone would need to destroy my pants personally and would know who they belonged to.
Luckily, I had a stash of wet wipes and was able to get cleaned up pretty well. In the corner closest to the door there was a small wood fireplace, and squatting down next to it was Binaji. As I ran down the hill, I knew I was in trouble. Then I washed out the bucket and took a shower of my own. We came home each afternoon and she indulged in them with us, attempting to teach us Hindi and laughing at our inability to pronounce the eight. My pants were a mess, not cleanable with the meager amount of toilet paper I grabbed in anticipation.
A poopy pants problem in the United States would be fine.
I trudged up the hill and got to the story. I had so many questions I wanted to ask her: what is it like to be in a village leadership role, especially as a woman? I ran into the stall, squatted as fast as humanly possible, and ripped down my pants. I had no choice. Binaji was in the kitchen. Our room was in a side house, attached to the barn, separate from the main living pants.
I needed to walk back up the hill to my room and to the potential of cleaner clothes. But it was too late. I pooped with a sad, slow pace. The shelves overflowed with containers of spices and vegetables and flour. Years of smoke from the fireplace blackened the wall around her and the ceiling above. I woke up promptly at six am to my host mother knocking on the window, bringing us morning tea. May I pet the dog? The shed was short — my head could touch the ceiling — and made of cement.
It was a long trek. I had to stoop my head to avoid bumping it on the clay ceilings above me. Two months long, a relatively tourist-free area, a homestay component — I knew I would never be able to experience something like that if I tried to plan it myself. In the far corner sat a small electric stove and a set of pots and pans.
Binaji, our host mother, was the granpanchayat, or mayor, of the village Reetha. That meant I got to pack everything in my backpack. As I re-packed my bag, I came to the slow realization that now I would need to carry all of my belongings, which now smelled highly questionable, the four miles to the resort. How long has your family lived in this house? Or maybe that was just my smell.
Three women share the story of the time they pooped their pants.
I turned the water on as hot as I could and washed the pants. That time of year, late July, the peaches were perfectly ripe. The walls at one point were blue, but were now faded to a slightly-teal white. When she moved, I saw a distinct outline of her shape forever immortalized in the wall behind her. The kitchen was unlike any room I have ever been in before, and likely any room I ever will be inside again.
I was also starting to miss the comforts of home. It was dark, and the only light in the front room came from a shrine Binaji and her husband used for worship.
It was a sunny and clear morning in the Indian Himalayan foothills. There were three mud nests inside the room, and the wall and floor beneath each was littered with stains of their excrement. The program was perfect.
We had one bucket in the cabin, and we used it for both laundry and showers. Although none of the containers had words on them, Binaji always knew just which one held what. As rewarding as it had been to challenge myself, I was getting a little tired with eating only potatoes and chapati. Built of clay, the floors, ceilings, and walls sloped away from each other. Someone has to clean up my poopy pants. As the three of us piled into the bed each night we could hear the cows sleeping soundly through our shared wall.
The air felt different. It was dimly lit — the only real light source a small fire and an electric lantern in the middle of the room. I should really go to the bathroom.
The flies, always present, were positively incessant. I have to clean up my poopy pants. The poop had already started, and it was not stopping anytime soon. I went to my cabin and faced the hard facts: I pooped my pants. I was twenty one years old. A large cabinet stood next to it, so large it seemed like the room had been built around it — there was no way it could have fit through the stunted doors.
Sweet, gingery flavor enticed me out of the bed I shared with two other American girls. The first time I walked inside was for dinner. A statue of Ganesha looked protectively over the room, ready to receive and ease all worries.
The bathroom was in a small tin shed down the hill and around the corner. Smelly, sweaty, and sad I arrived at the resort. Apparently, so was my digestion system. That morning we were leaving our homestay for the weekend to stay in a nearby resort.
2. “i pooed in line at the airport on my way home from vietnam. in active wear.” – nala
She poked sticks into the fire to start a large enough flame, then rolled chapati and placed it on a small metal plate above the fire. That someone is me.
Posted high in the Himalayan foothills, Reetha is home to mainly agricultural families. I pulled my poopy pants back up, and stepped out of the stall. She spoke no English, and I spoke no Hindi.