~From My Journal~
Many years ago we found ourselves in Thailand doing mission work. We had just come from Mindanao in the Philippines and it had been a very difficult trip. When we arrived at the boarding house in Bangkok where we were to stay for the next five weeks, we were all thrilled that it was clean and even had indoor plumbing. While we had been in the Philippines, we had been living mostly in the jungles, during the war, and the devastating Typhoons as well. It had been a difficult trip and we were all extremely tired. We even had a brief experience being “captured”, (another story~another time folks) This was going to be a lovely change for us all.
After a quick introduction to the new culture and tour of the house, I found my leave to use the bathroom. I have to say after 3 months of hardly a real bathroom, this was going to be a relief, so I thought. The bathroom was on the second floor and was designed like any other typical Asian bathroom. A small hole in the floor served as the toilet, adorned with grooved tiles on either side to place your feet. There was a tiled in sink-type area with a faucet and running water. The sink was filed to the brim with water and there was a ceramic dipper in the water. Situated on the left wall was a nice little sink to wash your hands, and a shower head in the ceiling. The room was completely tiled in. Only one small hand towel hung near the hand sink.
Let me explain how it works in Asia for those of you who have never had the chance to enjoy these types of adventures. What you had to do was to place yourself in a squatting position over the hole, ensuring you placed your feet upon the grooved tiles for stability, and afterwards, you would use the dipper filed with water from the sink area to “flush” down the hole. It was often slippery because of the way the water was used in flushing. You had to watch your step. This process had not been uncommon to me as we had been in missions for some time. As a matter of fact, this was the nicest “squatty potty” I had ever used up to this point in my life. Most were just holes somewhere and an old metal trash can filled with icky water with a piece of a tire sewed together as the dipper.
The interior walls in most of the Thai homes in that area were thin and did not quite rise to the next level in all areas. I had heard some noise in the passage way so I looked up to my right and could see a man walking down the steps. I saw but a quick view of his feet and then he just seemed to disappear. The design of the building ensured complete privacy, but I did not feel very safe, or comfortable at that particular moment. Hence, I was not paying close attention to what I was doing and where I was stepping. I had not yet become accustomed to the little plastic house shoes I was wearing and it was very slippery.
My right foot slipped into the “hole” becoming quite jammed. With nothing to reach for, I grabbed at thin air and tripped over my pant leg and hit the side of the wall full force all while my foot was still jammed into the hole. To my complete and utter shock, the wall gave in and crashed away from the bathroom area, pinning the poor man to the wall of the staircase. He screamed for help, at least that is what I think he was doing, but he was also trying to lift the wall off his own body. In doing so it was bending my foot wrong and it felt as if it might even break. I had already let out my own cries for help, and now I was begging him to stop pushing on the wall. We had a serious communication problem as I did not speak Thai and he did not speak English. We were getting nowhere. He kept pushing, I resorted to calling out the Lord’s name over and over for help. “Oh Jesus Please help” was all I could mutter.
Rescue soon came with my whole team running up the stairs. What seemed like hours was probably only minutes. Someone tried to crawl under the floppy wall to open the door. I yelled “no” because I had yet been able to make myself decent enough for anyone to enter. I quickly let them know about my foot and they were able to stop the poor man from pushing the wall against me. After a few minutes, he was freed from his prison wall, the poor man. The wall could not be moved, however, until I could pull my swollen foot from the hole, which I eventually was able to do. After making myself decent, they were able to prop up the broken wall and help me out of the mess. I exited the sceen very embarrassed and humbled. We had only been guests to this home a few hours and I had already broke their bathroom and staircase wall. How very nice of me.
The Thai people were lovely, more concerned about my badly bruised and sprained ankle, than a wall. After a few more days, we were able to laugh at the whole event and yes, we did fix the mess I made. But this event still ranks quite high on “Stasia’s Most Embarrassing Moments” list.
I hope and pray that no one is offended by my story, which truly happened. Over the months I have been attempting to write down all my adventures for my children. As I have gotten older I have forgotten too much. Destiny (13), Ella (8) and Noah (7) are still so young and I fear all the adventures I was able to share with my older girls, Brittany (27), Chelsey (23) and Lauren (21), will be quite forgotten by the time they are of age to appreciate them.