Remember that time when I said I’d never have to stand calf-deep in pig poop again? Yeah, me too. At the time, I truly believed I was telling the truth. I really wish I had been telling the truth… but alas, today I once again found myself standing in deep you-know-what.
First though, it started out as a normal day at the farm. Anna, Nick, and I went today (Yara couldn’t get up) and kept working on hoeing around the corn. Woohoo. We finished the field today, so hopefully they don’t find another weed-filled corn field and this can be the last time I ever have to do that.
There was one highlight of the morning though, and I think it means I can cross something off my my list of Ghana goals. On our way to and from the farm in the mornings, we have to walk through a bunch of neighborhoods, and people are always calling out “good morning” and “how are you?”, sometimes in English and sometimes in Ewe. At this point, I think I’m doing pretty well with Ewe. I can answer all of the basic questions and have a couple of tricks up my sleeve to really impress people (which isn’t hard because they’re usually expecting nothing from us). This morning, we walked past a woman, I said “good morning” in Ewe, she responded and asked “how are you?”, and I answered. When I turned to keep walking, I saw a little girl staring at me in awe. She said, “the yevu speaks Ewe” (reminder that “yevu” means white person), with probably the same astonishment in her voice that you would expect from someone discovering that their pet dog could speak English. I thought it was hilarious, and I’m going to say that counts as me “having a basic conversation in Ewe”, which was one of my goals for my time here.
Anyway, back to everyone’s favorite topic: the poop hole (aka the pig poop hole that will theoretically lead to natural fertilizer for the farm). I was so determined to finish today that I stayed in the morning after everyone else went home, in the hopes that I would be able to stay until the job was done. I was making great progress, and then, tragedy struck. The last wall that I was filling in behind came un-secured and started caving into the hole. NOOOO! I’ll be honest, I was beyond caring and planned to just leave us with a hole about 20% smaller than planned. Unluckily (for me, but luckily for the hole), Joe and John came by to check out my progress almost right after the cave in. Joe said, “oh the wall is falling down. You’ll have to dig all of that dirt out to stand it back up.” Ugh. I guess that settled it. I dug out most of the dirt, and by the time I stopped, it was about 9AM and I was drenched in sweat. It gets VERY hot VERY fast after 7AM, and I went through about 3 liters of water in two hours. I decided it was time to go home once I ran out. Plus, I couldn’t finish right then anyway because I needed a hammer to fix the wall. And they were still in the process of putting the day’s poop into the hole. The only thing worse than standing in a pile of poop is having someone adding poop to the pile while you’re in it. Hm… I have just now decided that “adding poop to the pile” is going to be the new “adding fuel to the fire”. I think it gets the point across much better than the original.
I spent the rest of the morning physically recovering and mentally preparing for my trip down the poop hole. Too soon, it was time for me to head back to the farm, saw and hammer in hand. Step 1 was finishing digging out the dirt behind the wall that would prevent me from pushing it back into place. Step 2 was cutting pieces of wood to be hammered into the ground and hold the wall up from inside the hole. Step 3 was getting into the hole, smacking the wall back into place, and hammering the new wood into the ground. This was obviously the most horrible part, and it was worse than last time because the poop was deeper. When I put my foot down, I had NO clue when I would hit solid ground. I was just praying that it would be sometime before the poop completely overtook my boot. Panic panic panic panic andddd sigh of relief. An inch to spare. With my feet held securely in place, I did what I needed to do and got the heck out of there. Step 4 was re-nailing the edge of the wall to the column. I put in about 6 nails rather than the 1 we had before, just for good measure. And then I added more on the other side too. That wall isn’t going anywhere. And if it does, I promise you that I won’t be the one getting into the hole to fix it. Step 5 was filling back in behind the wall (and hoping it didn’t collapse again). Step 6 was mounding the dirt up next to the wall so that any water will drain away from the hole. Finally, step 7 was finishing the gutter. Are you exhausted just reading about it? I’m re-exhausted just writing about it. Looking back on the whole poop hole process, there are probably close to 100 things we could have planned or designed or implemented better. If anyone is considering building one of their own, please get in touch and I’ll give you some suggestions.
It’s time to celebrate though… here are the words you thought you would never read: the poop hole is finished. The poop hole is FINISHED. THE POOP HOLE IS FINISHED!!!! I’m sure at this point you’re thinking, “thank goodness, if I had to hear about that stupid hole one more time, I would stop reading for good.” (Did you ever think you would read the word “poop” this many times in your life? I’m guessing no.) Well, good news for both of us. From this moment on, I will never mention the poop hole again (but realistically, this a soft “never”, similar to my previous “never standing in poop again” never).
The day ended on another high note. On my walk home, I walked past a field where there were hundreds of fireflies! We’ve gone looking for fireflies before, but there usually aren’t more than a few. This time was unreal. I’ve never seen anything like it. Watching the field was like seeing a Christmas light show. It’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. And just think… if I didn’t happen to be walking home from the farm at that hour, I never would have seen them. I guess some good did come out of the thing-that-must-not-be-named.