I hadn’t used it yet for fear of making a total mess, but this morning I was feeling adventurous. Normally, when it’s daylight out, I pee in a bucket and then dump it outside and wash the bucket out. I didn’t want to overestimate my peeing-standing-up-abilities so I took my surrogate penis outside to see what I was working with. It was broad daylight, but people rarely pass behind my Banda and the kids were all at school, so I saw this moment as my chance. I crept behind the Banda, stood on the ledge, and carefully got into position. Just as I began to take aim, one of the gardeners walked by and I let out a startled “oh!” while fumbling to cover myself and hide the purple funnel. The man glanced at me, then did a double take while he said “sorry” and then an awkward and rhetorical, “how are you?” as he walked in the other direction as quickly as possible.
I was shaking with embarrassment as I ran back inside. So many thoughts were running through my head. Did he see my purple penis? Did he see my crotch? Does he now think that all white women actually have penises? Will he tell all of his gardening buddies about what he saw?
I tried to brush it off, walk out of the Banda with my head held high.
We traveled to Masaka soon after where we could use the Internet cafe and buy a mattress and bed sheets for Rose. Daniel drove and Auntie Deborah came along. On the ride back, the thought of returning to Sabina where I might run into that gardener filled me with humiliation once again. I had to tell someone, so I told Auntie Deborah. To Deborah, the story got funnier and funnier. By the end, the woman was literally crying with laughter. She choked comments out like, “I need to see this GoGirl” and asked, “why did your mother give that to you?” as her eyes filled with tears of amusement.
We got back to Sabina and when I saw her an hour later for dinner, she was still laughing, sometimes shrieking. Deborah’s laugh made it all worth it in the end. I’m glad I am now known as the hermaphrodite muzungu among the gardeners here at Sabina.