Entry #56: How I Lost My Phone in the Pit Latrine and Other Updates

Date: 10/10/2019
Time: 7:34am

So, I lost my American Phone

I dropped it in the pit latrine.

A pit latrine, otherwise known as an outhouse, is just a literal hole in the ground to use the bathroom. Of course, you can imagine that dropping anything down there would mean a permanent loss for anything dropping in to this void of waster, thus, my phone has taken this sacrifice and has been lost to this void.

Frustrated at first, I was incredibly upset at the fact that I had lost my phone in the one place that I had tried to avoid losing it. But after my 15 minute bout of frustration, I had let out a sigh and took in a breath of clarity.

I was like: “NO. I’M NOT LOSING TO A PIT LATRINE.” In the back of my head I remembered that one of my colleagues had given me a coil of rope from the Peace Corps Office.

I got a rope, magnet, and flashlight. I secured it all to one end of the rope and excessively wrapped it with tape. Walking back from my house to the pit latrine, it was a simple plan:
– Lower the flashlight and magnet down the shithole and pray that the phone was still there. Easy.

Let me tell you, when that flashlight had descended all the way down to the layer of pure human waste, there was nothing but nasty. The iPhone had been absorbed in to the leftovers of the world. I waved the flashlight left and right with the slight movements of my wrist, swinging it like a pendulum in a shaft of concrete and darkness. The pit latrine just swallows all the the goodness of the world.

The thing I took away from it all, was that it’s not the fucking end of the world. Since we were given an embassy phone to communicate from Peace Corps, I still had communication available to me, alebit it was a bit expensive to call back home in the states.

I can still write letters. I can still travel to town for electricity. I can still make an effort to reach out. Harder, but still available.

Making Coffee from Scratch

Oh yeah, my coffee grinder also broke. Just when I thought things wouldn’t get more inconvenient, my grinder broke 🙁

As the days go by, more and more of these little things just happen to happen. Without a coffee grinder, my morning routine has changed a little bit. Instead of being upset, as I already was, I decided to not let the fate of my things dictate my experience here. Since I had a pestle and mortar, I guess it’s time use it!

I’ve been roasting my coffee since I’ve gotten in touch with someone who had unprocessed coffee for sale, with my obsession for self-sufficiency and autonomy over the process, I bought 2.2lbs of unprocessed coffee and happily went back home.

How often do you get the opportunity to roast your own coffee, grind it by hand, and drink it the following morning?

The process is as slow as you would imagine, I’m pretty sure my plants would grow another leaf before I’m through with all of this coffee, so I’ve been doing it in small batches. After retrieving the coffee bean from it’s outer shell, I went ahead and roasted it with some pieces of cinnamon bark, cardamom, and other spices. I roasted it to a blonde roast, for the benefit of all of the caffeine of course, and now I’m full of energy when I’m gardening.

I Grew You

Watermelon, tomatoes, and kale.

I’ve been putting a good amount of work in my garden, almost every morning for about 30 minutes to an hour of tending to my garden. As an agriculture volunteer from Hawai’i, I felt obliged to be a gardener from my job and where I come from, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it.

Slowly, but surely, my plants have been sprouting out of the ground and hopefully by sometime in February or March, I’ll be harvesting something. Let’s see if they make it that far haha.

Making this garden, however, was more of a proof-of-concept than a personal kitchen garden. I wanted to test and see what kind of conditions and challenges that farmers face here in Uganda, specifically in Iganga. From these past few weeks I’ve learned more about the pests, livestock and weeds issues that people will deal with.

It’s rough, but it’s okay.

I signed up for this after all.

In situations like this, where everything sort of seems like these little issues start piling up that your mind starts to wonder why I put myself here in the first place. Without a phone to contact others, without the ability to use my electronics, without the opportunity to speak with others in my native language, how do you rationalize the reasons of all of this trouble?

I came to Uganda to learn more about myself and volunteered with Peace Corps to learn about others.

Stripping away so many of the luxuries that I once had like friends and family, you start to wonder if loneliness is a consequence of company or the understanding that these people are still there whether you can see them or not. I’ve come to terms with all of these issues and what I’ve learned is that no matter how far removed you would be from the people who care about you, from the things and conveniences of life that you once knew, of what remains is the attitude that you treat your life with.


  • Mummy , October 31, 2019 @ 5:10 pm

    Ewwww Josh ,u tried to retrieve your phone in that stinky ,germ infested hole ?

  • Frances , March 23, 2020 @ 1:08 am

    HAHAH. Your mom’s comment.

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