Grossness and a full moon

>> Monday, June 28, 2010

Since becoming a PCV I have a surprisingly large amount of conversations discussing bowel movements. Whether it is about my first squat experience where I stuck my hand in a mound of another person's poo or calling the doctors with other "issues." One thing that caught me off guard is how much the other PCV's discuss toilet situations. It's getting to the point where instead of saying how are you some people prefer to inquire about your bathroom schedule. A group of PCV's are even re-writing songs to be all about poo. It has been said that you're not a Peace Corps Volunteer until you go in your pants, so I guess this discussion should be expected.

I'm telling you all this to tie into a lovely conversation I had with my Russian, Almaz, the other day. You see I thought that bathroom discussion were taboo in the AzerCommunity. While Almaz was not actually discussing bowel sure was gross advice. We were sitting in her garden and her daughter, Diana, came out to play with me. Diana is named after Princess Di. No joke she didn't have a name for 2 months and one night in Almaz's dream Princess Di came out of a painting and told Almaz to give the baby girl her name. So whenever Diana doesn't want to work, we call her a bad princess. Anyways, as we were talking she noticed that Diana had a wart on her hand. Being a pharmacist I asked her if she was going to bring home some medicine for her. This is where the story gets interesting. Almaz informed me that there is medicine but it burns and you have to apply it five times for it to work. I figured this was normal, but when she was a young girl she and her sister recieved some better advice. This is the recipe for wart removal given by an awesome Russian grandma to a young Almaz:
1 - Wait for a full moon.
2 - Before you go to bed, go into the bathroom and pee on your hand.
3 - Come outside and let your hand air dry in the full moon's beam.
4 - Once it's dry, just head on in the house and fall asleep, you know with your hand smelling of urine.
5 - In the morning wash your hand and go about your day as if nothing has happened.
6 - 10 days later, they will all be gone.

Almaz swears this works. She even showed me that she had a wart and said that she herself is waiting for the next full moon because she's done it before. Diana looked like she was going to vomit if her mom didn't stop talking about peeing. So there you have it. No need to go to the hospital, just wait for the full moon.


Sam June 29, 2010 at 4:28 AM  

Hello from across the border in Armenia!
Your blog made it onto my peace corp google alerts and I thought I'd say hi and see how things were going for PC Azerbaijan.
I'm the newly arrived group of volunteers, so we're still PSTing. Howre your projects going?

Averill Strasser June 29, 2010 at 9:28 AM  


We have funding available for small water and sanitation projects inAzerbaijan.

I am COO of Water Charity, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that does water, sanitation, and public health projects worldwide. In July, 2009, we started our Appropriate Projects initiative to fund small water and sanitation projects very quickly. Applicants are limited to Peace Corps Volunteers, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, and Peace Corps Response Volunteers.

I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Bolivia ’66-’68), and am well aware of the difficulties Volunteers face in the field. Appropriate Projects is an addition to our regular Water Charity model that is allowing us to provide project resources to PCVs in the field immediately.

Often there is that little project that must be done now (before the rains start, before school begins, or in response to a critical need), but there are no funds available. Traditional funding sources are cumbersome, and there are long forms, detailed requirements, limited resources, and long delays.

PCVs working in water and sanitation usually have potential projects lined up. For those working in other program areas, there may be water components to their projects, or improvements needed where they work or teach.

Sample projects may be: rainwater or spring catchments, handwashing stations, water systems, piping, tanks, pumps, latrines, wells, etc.

We like to do the water and sanitation parts of projects for schools, clinics, and community centers. So, if you can get funding for the building and other stuff, we can help with things like the water supply, filters, sinks, plumbing, and drainage.

We like to finish projects that have been started, and fix things that have ceased to function.

We encourage follow-up projects that expand upon the successful completion of the first small project.

If you have a project in mind, please fill out the application form. We want this to be easy for you, so we have developed a simple form that you can fill out in one sitting.

If you have any questions about the appropriateness of your project, or you need some time to get it together, just let us know.

We pre-fund projects, so you don’t have to wait around for donations to roll in.

If you do not have a project that qualifies, please pass this message on to your fellow Volunteers who may have an interest. Finally, if this initiative resonates with you, please let others know what we are doing through your social networks, websites, and blogs.

I look forward to hearing from you.



Averill Strasser

Appropriate Projects

Water Charity

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