We knew there was a river and a town not too far ahead, and decided to go forward to wash a few clothes and rest in the town. It was still early when we got to the river; we were told on the way to stay on a certain side because on the other was where the crocodiles like to hang out. (Maybe? Maybe not? But we’ll follow the rules I suppose). We follwed advice and walked down to the river where there were a few men doing their laundry and gathering water. It struck me as add to see men doing this and not see any women around at all, but I wrote it off quickly, and Aaron and I hopped across some rocks that put us more int hemiddle of the river where the current was moving faster. As we washed our clothes and took a dip to clean ourselves off as well, more men came and went, some of them apparantly there to bathe. They were not put off at all that I was there and continued about their business as normal, but so apparantly there was a separate men’s and woman’s side to the river! By the time we started to figure it all out, it was too late to do anything about it, so we just did what we had to do and tried to leave semi-gracefully. We stayed in town for the day, and being as the river is the only water source, we had to go back to fetch water before leaving town. This time, we went, knwoginly, to the woman’s side, where also most of the children congregate with their mothers and grandmother’s. You could hear their laughter and splashing grow with every step. It sounded like a pool party. Aaron decided to hang back a bit to not scar himself for life with the naked old ladies, while I got water and brought it back to him to pump. I must admit though, the smell of the woman’s side of the river, made me grateful to have done my laundry on the men’s side, and also very glad that we were purifying the water to drink. Feces is usucally not a fun smell combination with your drinking water.
And that’s why clean water is needed. Because NO ONE should be drinking that.
By the time we left, we had drawn such a crowd of children that we basically led a whole procession back through town. The kids know little English but get a kick out of practicing with us. When they say “good afternoon” and you respond likewise, they laugh hysterically. One kid, Jordin, a 10 year old who had sold me a beer earlier (weird experience) kept running up to the front to “make sure we were good”.
At least we probably gave everyone somthing to talk about for a few days.