Give Thanks For Your American Toilet!

Going to the pot in Africa, many a time is the “real walk of faith.”

Don’t ever take your toilet for granted, and remember to thank God that you have one!

The following are three “heartwarming toilet tales,” of our times in Africa

You will see how wonderfully God turns everything out for good to those who love Him.

Let me forewarn you, if you have a weak stomach you may like to peek at the stories before reading them

Oh yeah, toilet in Swahili is “choo.”

Enjoy and Happy 2015!

Tale # 1

The Maasais are the folks with the big ears, the big earrings, the lion hunters and blood drinkers.

They are some of the nicest people and a nation which God is touching with revival.

I was invited to teach a Bible conference in the heart of Maasai land in Simba, Kenya.

Simba, by the way, means lion. Do you remember, “The Lion King?”

I was met by pastors on the highway to Mombasa, Kenya.

My bags were hoisted on their bicycles.

Simba had been experiencing unending rains for weeks.

The skies above me were ominously black.

As we walked two miles, the rains came down.

No umbrella, and no trees to hide beneath, I got soaked to the bone.

In ankle deep mud, we dragged ourselves to the pastor’s cow dung hut.

The pastor’s wife met us with towels.

I went to my tiny bedroom and stripped from everything including my water logged handkerchief.

This pastor did not have a choo.

His choo was the bush.

That night the walk to the potty would be in drenching rain, ankle high mud, and night critters to bite me when  I would bend over.

I prayed and made a deal with God.

“I’m  going to ask you a big favor. While I’m in Simba the next five days, I don’t want to go Number Two. I want you to honor me and until I get back to my apartment in Kitengela and my America toilet, please don’t let me go number two. In the Name of Jesus, I bind Number Two from coming out!”

I then went to sleep in my six by eight foot room.

At three in the morning, I woke up to roar of trouncing rains, and an overwhelming urge to do Number Two.  I could not believe it!

I was really angry at God for not answering my prayer.

But the need just worsened

Here is a grammar lesson in Swahili if you will visit Kenya

Number one is “short col”

Number two is “long col.”

I got my roll of toilet paper and flashlight.

The pastor was sleeping in the other room.

I went to his bed side.

“Pastor, pastor, I have to go to the choo, I have to go long col.”

The pastor rolled the big wooden door aside from the hut.

I pointed my flashlight into the yawning night, its beams catching  huge drops of rain.

As I stepped into the mud, the rain stopped. Whammo!

From a thrashing downpour to a nothing in sixty seconds.

I looked up in disbelief at the black skies,

“My God you are so great and so good!”

I went to my “bush choo” full of confidence and performed my long col.

Tale # 2

My second choo story ensued in Kisangaji, Tanzania.

Kisangaji, is even more remote than Simba.

Kisangaji, is about 10 miles from the nearest town of Mbati.

I was there on a five day Bible conference.

In Kisangaji I did not have a bush choo but the regular rural choo which is a hole in the dirt inside of a tiny structure.

I did not pray what I had prayed in Simba, but my wish was just as strong.

“Lord, until I get back to the pastor’s  home in Arusha, Tanzania, with my American choo, please don’t let me go long col in Kisangaji.”

What made it tricky was that our only food was, “ahhh yes, rice and beans. Beans, beans and more beans.”

It was Sunday, the fourth day of the conference. I was heading out to Arusha the next morning.

No urges for long col! Praise His Holy Name!

After the Sunday morning service we walked two miles to a river in blistering heat.

We were going to baptize several converts.

I murmured under my breath as I cooked with perspiration running down my face.

To my amazement, these Tanzanians who had nothing, went on leaping and praising God, drums banging, and voices raised all the way to the river.

Africa, has taught me how ungrateful, spoiled and pampered I can be.

On the journey back, the “long col catastrophe” hit me.

OMG, I had the worse urge to go long col ever

I had no toilet paper, and there were no trees.

It was just rocky grounds spotted with occasional Acacia trees.

“What am I going to do Lord, have mercy on me!”

I marched like a high-speed soldier, legs tucked in, frantically doing the penguin shuffle,  trying  to make it back to the camp.

I spotted my Tanzanian hostess Teresia whose house I was lodging in.

“ Teresia” I gasped in pain, “Long col!”

She muttered something back to me.

“L O N G  C OL!”, I articulated.

I did know that the Tanzanian Swahili is different to Kenyan.

She had no idea what I said!

I froze in time, now beyond exploding.

Suddenly, another pastor rushed to the scene and spoke to her.

Teresia grabbed my hand and rushed me to my bedroom.

I hysterically dug through my luggage, got the roll of toilet paper and lunged to the outhouse.

Breaking in through  roosters and children I must have appeared an utter fool.

I pulled my pants down and lunged for the hole, but did not make it.

The diarrhea came out on the floor, all over my pants and legs.

As a penguin I straddled over the hole and finished my business.

“Oh, God, how could you allow this to happen to me?”  Squatting over the hole I continued my denunciation with God.

I swear that in the midst of my complaints, God sent an angel who tapped the roll of toilet paper, which I had left on a mud ledge of the outhouse.

The  paper fell off the ledge, magically rolled right towards me, in  between my legs, and into the hole!

“Oh My God!” This was the utter low blow!

I think that I heard God chuckle and say, “LOL! This is what occurs when you complain too much!”

I put my diarrhea pants back on and proceeded back to the bedroom.

Past the children and the roosters I faltered once again. I was so embarrassed!

From my door cracked open, I said. “Teresia, could you please bring me magi, which is water, and soap?”

I washed myself down, put the dirty clothes in a bag and proceeded with them to where the pastors where. Quietly I told them what happened. Laughter erupted everywhere. No one mocked me. It was just so darn funny.

Tale # 3

Ndeda Island is a Kenya landmass of fishermen in Lake Victoria.

This enormous lake is Africa’s largest.  It is renowned for its brown bass and tilapia.

The 10,000 who live in Ndeda Island catch the fish and haul it to Kisumu where it is sold.

We were invited in 2007 to teach Bible conference on this bustling island.

Upon our arrival, the children hurriedly gathered around our boat. For most, they had never seen a white person (mzungu).

We were a novelty, and for the next five days, they were glued to us.

I was sadly informed that Ndeda Island did not have a single toilet ( choo) to accommodate its thousands of inhabitants.

Their choo was a vast corn field which  served as  food which had been cultivated through human manure.

My wife Mary is the real deal in missions.

Being part of Youth with a Mission in the 80’s, she knows how to  joyfully rough it, every time, and anywhere.

I, however, am a tourist missionary.

I love the mission field but do need hot baths and American toilets if at all possible.

I tried to wrap around my brain  the concept of how do 10,000  people go to the pot daily in one corn field?

It wasn’t long till I found out.

As we honed  upon the tall vegetation I took a leap of faith and soared “where no white man had gone before.”


“Oh My God!”


“Oh No, Watch Out!”

What I saw I would not wish upon my worst enemy.

This was a mine field of excrement.

Separating one husk, and one tree one from another, I could not locate a two by two square feet space that was free from human feces.

It was the most grisly sight ever.

I did my number one and rushed out of the horrid field.

“Oh my God, what will I do when its number two?”

It was impossible to think of going back into the corn husks, and this time to squat.

I am a tourist missionary after all!

For Mary, this was not a problem. That night with flashlight and toilet paper, she plunged into the corn stalks.

But God is awesome and answers our deepest needs.

Reports came to us that the one choo, a solitary toilet in Ndeda Island, would open for business the next morning at three pennies a squat.

We woke the next morning and proceeded up the hill to the choo with toilet paper in hands.

The entourage of kids caught glimpse of us and assembled behind us like ducklings.

What a sight! Two wzungu (white people) toilet paper in hands, going to the choo, followed  by twenty kids.

This choo was clean and fresh. We gave the lady who managed it our three shillings and were grateful to God for the rest of our visit to Ndeda Island.

Do remember to thank God for you American choo!

kids choo A genuine African choo! choo three choo four


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