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Cambodia Summer Program.

A Cambodian Horror Story

It’s the middle of the night. You wake up feeling sticky as usual, despite showering two hours ago. You feel it coming. You knew this day was approaching, when was always the question.

You climb out of your bug net lined bed, careful as to not wake your fellow Dragons next to you. This is your problem and yours alone.

You grab your headlamp and walk down the stairs of the house built on stilts, at the bottom slipping your sandals on.

Headlamp in hand, as there is too little time to put it on your head, you stumble to the bathroom to use the “squatty potty”, an eastern style toilet.

You have waited two days for this impending doom. You squat down over a hole that causes you to second guess your socially-conditioned instinct.

It’s a number 1 – diarrhea.

After you believe the stream has finished – for the third time – you reach for the napkins we have been using as toilet paper.

This is a new level of panic. It has gone from feeling like finding two missed calls from mom on your phone to seven missed calls and eight text messages.

All of the information the instructor team gave you on Day One of orientation could never have prepared you for this moment. You search your memory for the exact instructions you were given: you have to use the water.

Carefully you take the pan, fill it with water and dump it out. You slowly get the hang of it. Just as slowly, you start to realize that this experience is not as scary as you had anticipated.

Although this story is (at this point in the trip) invented, realizing that an experience is less scary than I had thought it would be is not. Dragons has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and at the end of each adventure I am so happy that this is how I chose to spend my summer – squatting over a traditional eastern toilet.