Published: June 1st 2012June 1st 2012
I am not sure how inappropriate it would be for me to write a blog on this subject but it was something that affected me mentally upon my arrival in Udaipur. I feel as though it was a subject that seemed important when I was preparing to leave for my internship but there was never a lot of information on the subject in the community blog and I did not know the interns well enough to get into the nitty gritty details. So this one is for future interns and hopefully you will feel more comfortable to face the bathroom (and all sorts of other situations) during your internship.
I have been to overnight camps in the woods and gone camping many times. Leaving Canada, I felt prepared for whatever toilet situation I would be faced with during my internship. However, when I arrived at the dorms and realized that the toilet was a sort of in the ground ceramic hole, with grips to place your feet, a bucket under a faucet that you pour into the hole to ‘flush’- I found myself with a sort of mental block. In fact, I pretty much avoided the bathroom for the first few days. This was not the best. I was feeling bloated, uncomfortable and dreading how I would survive the next three months. It is weird how your mind can just get in the way … but I finally found a solution: to talk about it (discreetly).
I think half of the mental block was caused by an uncertainty about how the in ground toilet really worked. Talking (discreetly), to some of the other interns who had been volunteering at my NGO was so helpful. I realized that it was not something to be ashamed of and in fact, the person I spoke too was able to discreetly explain the ropes. Despite her instructions, I was still having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around using the toilet. So for anyone who fears the in ground toilet, this piece of advice from a fellow volunteer went a LONG way to overcoming my mental block: in ground toilets are probably cleaner than western toilets, where people sit on them all the time. This point had not occurred to me and just like that my mental block seemed to ease away. It is funny how the mind works sometimes.
To conclude, I think it is important to remember how communication and not being shy to ask questions can go a long way- even outside of the bathroom. I mean the reality is that during an internship you are faced with new ways of going about your daily life and when you feel uncomfortable, ignoring it won’t always work- because you are going to be living through this for three months!